GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) --Many people have fond childhood memories of their favorite rubber duck. Therapists at Glendale Adventist Medical Center have figured out a way to combine those positive thoughts with pool therapy.
Stroke survivor Laura Cerda seems to have started a trend.
Three times a week at the Glendale Adventist Acute Rehabilitation Center, the 61-year-old enters the therapy pool with a group of colorful, quack companions looking on.
Cerda suffered a massive stroke 13 years ago in her sleep. Her left side was completely paralyzed.
"I went to bed and I woke up days later in intensive care," she said.
To help recover some movement, her therapists prescribed aquatic therapy. The only problem was - she was afraid of water.
"Well, first of all I don't swim," Cerda explained.
Physical therapy aide Margarita Garcia thought playing with rubber ducks might help ease Cerda's fears, and it did.
"I think they just brought wonderful memories of when my kids were little, and it was very comforting and so my stress dropped and I was able to begin my physical therapy," said Cerda.
Garcia said patients saw the benefits and started to give her one rubber duck after another. From then, Garcia's duck collection exploded! She currently has nearly 100 ducks.
She has one called the Magna Carta duck, a group of Village People ducks, a soccer duck and a black-and-white pirate duck that patients love.
"I've got to go with the Halloween duck - that's my favorite one," said physical therapist Jason Julian.
Julian says the pool is heated to 94 degrees, just like bath water. Seeing all the ducks in the water may look like "quack"-ery or simply "fowl play," but these adorable tub toys serve a big purpose - they help patients forget about their pain.
"The ducks have a therapeutic effect, a very calming effect on the patients," said Julian.
People love to add to Garcia's growing "Duck Dynasty." And she loves the way her ducks make people smile and feel confident.
Cerda says her plastic friends offer a therapeutic oasis.
"As soon as you walk down the steps and you feel the warm water, all you say is, 'Ahh, that feels good.' If they fed me. I'd stay in there for 24 hours," she joked.