Gene, 52, a successful entrepreneur, has started and sold several businesses during his career in manufacturing. A self-described workaholic, Gene was working in his home office in Transfer, PA, when he suddenly lost feeling in his right side. He immediately suspected he was having a stroke. Thankfully, his son was nearby and was able to take Gene to a hospital near Pittsburgh, more than an hour south of their home.
After three days in the intensive care unit, Gene was transferred to UPMC Horizon so he could be closer to home. He spent several days in the hospital before starting inpatient rehabilitation at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute.
From the outset, Gene wasn’t strong enough to walk at all. He had to start from scratch, learning how to walk and use his right side again. His therapists had him use exercise bands for his arms and legs, and do activities like batting at a balloon while seated, then while standing.
“It can be depressing when you have to start all over, relearning all of your motor skills like a child,” says Gene. “You need positive people around you to motivate you. My therapists did just that. They kept pushing me to try harder.”
Gene’s wife, Ginger, felt helpless and worried about her husband. “I felt like my whole world was falling apart,” remembers Ginger. “But the nursing staff was so helpful and supportive in so many ways. They reassured me that things will progress and that Gene was making great headway.”
As a former football player and recreational athlete, Gene isn’t one to step down from a challenge. He was aggressive with his rehabilitation because he wanted to get better quickly. When he was first admitted to UPMC, he had no mobility. After three weeks, he was able to walk out of the hospital using only a four-prong cane.
Gene has continued with his progress by doing exercises at home and participating in outpatient rehabilitation at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services’ Hermitage location. He is now able to walk with no assistance.
“There’s no doubt that my recovery was a team effort,” says Gene. “It takes a community and that’s what I found at UPMC.”
Gene is now back to work and has recently started his fifth business – helping to implement management skills in other companies.
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