At the young age of 45 years old, I suffered from two strokes and was left with little hope. On my first day of rehab, I met a man who gave me hope by sharing his story - so today, I am doing the same.
In 2019, I knew who I was - a father, husband, avid boater and outdoorsman, and environmental engineer. However, that same year, I added “stroke survivor” to my myriad of labels. In June of 2019, I returned home from a business trip, but when I woke up the next morning, I began to show signs of a stroke and my wife drove me to the hospital right away. Unfortunately, but fortunate for my location, I suffered a second stroke in the hospital - this one of greater severity.
I was placed on life support and a ventilator as I was unable to breathe, talk and eat on my own - essentially starting from square one again. I had no movement in my right arm and leg, which made walking impossible. I was set up with inpatient rehab at University of Maryland Medical Center, which is when I immediately determined I would set goals and try to walk out of the hospital on my own.
My therapist was quick to help me set and work toward my goals, pushing me further than I ever thought possible. She got me up out of my wheelchair and walking again through the use of innovative technology, including the Bioness Vector System, which allowed for one-on-one patient to therapist support.
My recovery journey is not complete, but I did walk by the time I got out of that hospital.
I also began hitting my other goals including returning to work part-time, driving my truck with adaptive controls, regaining speech, appreciating simple daily tasks, and most importantly, driving my family around on our boat this past summer. A little over a year since my last stroke, I am going into 2021 with more confidence, strength and hope that I will continue to meet my goals - thanks to the help of my physical therapist and the Bioness Vector System, my supportive family, and my ongoing determination.