For anyone who has gone through or who knows someone who has gone through the rehabilitation process, you know it is exactly that: a process. For most people, recovering from a brain injury, stroke or complicated medical illness is not a quick in and out of the hospital. Instead, the road to recovery can be a long one. It is a journey that usually includes a continuum of care with a range of services addressing different health and wellness needs along the way.
Today, we sat down with Michael Stricker, a man who knows the true meaning of process. He came to Magee as an inpatient with a neurological illness. It started as flu-like symptoms, but eventually progressed to such severe weakness that he was hardly able to move. Michael has been at Magee for 5 months, starting first as an inpatient, and progressing to outpatient. Here’s his story.
When I arrived at Magee, I was weak, I could hardly move. The weakness was worse on one side, but the best neurologists didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was in a pretty sad state when I came to the hospital for inpatient care. I really had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know about the role of doctors, all the different types of therapy it would take, and the daily routine. I also had no idea how much care I would get. How much devotion, how much dedication from the staff I would get from the moment I first arrived at the hospital.
Being so weak that I could barely move, I was helped in the most humane kind of way to get past issues that made me feel sensitive. I wasn’t treated like a pariah, nobody gave me a hard time, and everyone was very kind and supportive during a very delicate time for me. Then it was right away, into therapy. The minute they can get you into therapy they are doing it. That didn’t give me any time to have doubts or fears.
After a successful stay in inpatient rehab, regaining his strength, his voice, and his ability to move, Michael began outpatient therapy at Magee’s Riverfront Outpatient Center.
Being an outpatient after being an inpatient—it’s like two different worlds. The perspectives and expectations are different, and it’s good to be prepared for that. Once you become an outpatient, you have to be responsible, committed, prepared and proactive. There’s a little more involvement on your part and you need to be invested in your therapy.
Michael points out that the constant between his experiences at Magee has been the dedication and expertise of the staff. However, anyone who knows Michael understands that his drive, determination, and hard work have been the true keys to his success. Recently, Michael was able to accomplish a major goal—walking his dogs on his own. This achievement is a testament to Michael’s strength as he works hard each day to achieve his goals. All of us who have worked with Michael know that he will achieve everything he sets out to do.