Team Approach to Stroke Recovery

My name is Bruce Anderson, I work at South Dakota State University as a video producer. I've been doing this for a long time. I've worked at the university for a little over two years. The stroke was on my left side, so it affected my right side. As I arrived at the hospital, I'm thinking, "Oh my gosh, what am I going to do now?" I'm a video person, just like you folks, and I rely on my senses. I edit with my right hand. How am I going to edit? What's my life going to be like afterwards? Well, my life picked up, and it's still going.

What was the rehabilitation process like?

After I left the hospital, I went home for recovery. Brookings Health System then set me up with a series of programs through their rehabilitation services, and that was occupational therapy to work on my hand and so that my mind and my fingers would get back into sync. We worked on physical therapy to get my strength back on my right side, because that's what was affected, so that I could walk upstairs, balance. That sounds simple, but when you had a life-changing event, it's very difficult. The most difficult was the speech therapy. Even after leaving the hospital, it was hard for me to get words to my tongue and say it.

How was initial therapy at the Stroke Center?

So the care that I got at the stroke center, they helped get me moving, getting me back out of my shell that I was in. I was able to say my name, and I was able to say my wife's name, and that was very important.

What impressed you about Outpatient Therapy at Brookings Health System?

It was three weeks of extensive therapy. It was coordinated therapy. I felt that the three entities worked together. I could see them at times when I was in the waiting room, them talking about my case and where I'm at, and I was really impressed with that team approach, and so that each one of them knew where I was at and would base the therapy for that given day where Bruce is at on that given day and where he came from, and that was vital.

How was the communication between you and the staff?

I was kept involved with setting goals for myself, where do I want to be the next day, the next week. I explain to her, "I'm an editor. I sit at a computer most of my day, and I'm right-handed. I need to get this hand working again. I've got to run the cameras. I've got to set the lights. I've got to set the microphone. I've got to carry the equipment. What do we need to do? We need to get the strength back. We need to get the strength back and the balance in the legs. I need to be able communicate again." I think giving the team the knowledge of who I was and where I want to be again was very helpful in them determining their approach, and it was a team approach.

What was your recovery time like?

I was surprised that within three weeks, I was back to work. I didn't make those gains alone. I mean, it was a team approach. I've got a cheerleader at home, my wife, and I had a drive that I need to get back to work. There aren't words to say what I think about the staff. My gratitude for what they provided. Thank you, I mean, everybody.