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Mac — Physical Therapy Patient Story​

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After suffering a massive stroke the day after Father’s Day 2012, Mac woke up in the ICU to the words, “You’re lucky to be alive.”

Mac’s entire right side was paralyzed from the stroke but he was determined to walk again. After several weeks in the hospital, he began therapy at CRS Chapel Harbor where he re-learned how to pick up small items, place things on a shelf, put items in the refrigerator, and drive a car simulator. He eventually learned how to walk with a cane and use the elliptical and treadmill.

“Everyone who participated in my rehabilitation worked me very hard,” said Mac. “I received physical and occupational therapy during the day and then I’d continue doing exercises on my own at night. This served me well because I regained my strength and I can drive myself again, which is a huge relief.”

Mac’s therapists taught him exercises and stretches that he could do at home, so that he could regain his former abilities and get back to doing what he enjoys. As a community outreach liaison for the Woodland Hills School District, Mac connects the school with the parents and the community.

“My CRS therapists came to my school and explained to my colleagues and the schoolchildren what had happened to me,” said Mac. “We then demonstrated the exercises they had me do during therapy, which taught the children about rehabilitation after a stroke. I was so impressed that my therapists took the time to come to the school to teach the kids and show them what I’m going through.”

In the mornings before school begins, Mac now walks up and down the hallways for exercise. He credits all of his doctors and therapists for the progress he has made since his stroke.

“The key to a successful recovery is to keep pushing yourself and telling yourself you can do it,” said Mac. “But having great therapists like mine really makes all the difference. I’m lucky to be alive, and lucky to have received their care.”

Read more about the physical therapy program at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services.