Russ’s life as a salesman was filled with stress and pressure. He pushed himself hard, developed poor eating habits, smoked, and was diagnosed with high blood pressure. At the age of 50, Russ had a stroke. He felt the right side of his body tingling and then he collapsed.
Russ suffered complete paralysis on his right side when he was admitted to Alta Bates Summit Inpatient Rehabilitation. He participated in his own recovery with the aide of his physical and occupational therapists. Russ found the true value of the rehabilitation program. He felt that the therapists were goal oriented and ready to spend the time with him to attain these goals “This is what recovery from a stoke is…building blocks, progressions,” said Russ. “Therapists instruct and assist you to do things when you are ready. Eventually, things start to connect and the changes are gradual. WOW, I couldn’t do something last week and now I can.”
Russ went back to work full-time. He sells plastics and supplies in the biotech industry. He has been driving on his own for years now. This was an important accomplishment for Russ who needed a hand lever to operate the foot pedals until he could use his left foot again. Pam, his therapist remembers, “When Russ was first here, his right arm and hand were completely incapacitated; he couldn’t use them in any functional way. Now…he has started playing tennis!”
He is still making progress. He is able to enjoy his hobby of building guitars and has completed two since his stroke. His attitude keeps him strong and focused and he plans on making the most of his life. “The more you do, the better you get!” says Russ.