Gary R.

Gary R.

Gary Reynolds spent his days working 30-40 hours per week assisting patients prior to cataract surgery. Along with his day job, Gary spent long hours cutting down trees in the heat of the summer. One long-awaited Friday off, Gary headed to LaGrange to visit family. During the drive, he began to feel sick. He felt like he was coming down with a virus or inner ear infection.

Gary and his brother-in-law decided to take a ride in the country during his visit. Gary recalls the trouble he had stepping up into the truck but just chalked it up to feeling sick. They drove around for about an hour. Upon arriving back home, Gary couldn’t get out of the truck or up the stairs into the house on his own. He persuaded his family into letting him drive back home.

In the back of his head, Gary knew something wasn’t right. He knew he should be driving to the hospital, but still chose to go home. Once he arrived home, Gary put ear drops in his ears and went to bed. Things were still not right when he awoke the next morning. He took a shower and at 10 o'clock on Saturday morning, Gary turned to his wife and told her he needed to go to the hospital.

Doctors ran a myriad of tests on Gary after arriving at the hospital. The diagnosis? Gary suffered a stroke, specifically a right pontine cerebral vascular accident. After two days in the hospital, a friend told Gary about Southern Indiana Rehabilitation Hospital (SIRH). The decision to utilize his Medicare A for 20 days of inpatient rehab "was a no brainer" for Gary. Still, Gary was touched when his son thanked him for deciding to partake in rehab.

“I was devastated and humbled with the thought of my loss of independence," Gary said. "But as a Christian for 50 years, I put my faith in my higher power and believed what the Bible says about thinking positive.”

It took a little while for Gary to get to that point, though. "My pride and ego made things difficult at first," he recalled. "But then I started following instructions and directions and repeated to myself my mantra of 'I came here for a purpose.' The word 'recover' was my single focus. I knew I didn’t have to think about anything else for at least 20 days."

Gary leveraged his pride as motivation to regain his independence. "It was so difficult for me to have to ring the bell to get help going to the bathroom, so I knew that my first goal was to get bathroom privileges….and I did it! The next goal was to get my 'walking in the hallway' privileges, and with lots of work and inner drive, I gained that as well!"

Having made progress, Gary began to feel a sense of responsibility to those around him. "As I got better, I felt it was my duty to be an encourager to others and be an inspiration to all the people in the rehab gym that were also fighting the battle for recovery."

Before discharging home, Gary reflected on the impact of his care team. “SIRH has an awesome staff," he stated. "Everyone cares. They have so much to give and offer you on your road to recovery. It was such a positive experience for me. My life will never be the same! A special 'thank you' to Amanda Chesser, OT, Karissa Slate, PT, Dr. Heink, Dr. Thompson, and all the nurses and aides who aided in my recovery."