Success Stories

David Arledge

David Arledge found support at Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute while recovering from a stroke

David Arledge’s life was like many others: he got up every day, went to work, came home, and enjoyed life. He and his wife, Laura, were making the most of being empty nesters, spending time together, and staying active in their church.

Things changed the day the Arledges returned from a weekend get-a-way to celebrate their anniversary. It was an early evening, so they decided to unload the car and go grab dinner before they unpacked and settled down for the evening. As David headed down the hallway with his last load of luggage, he suddenly lost feeling in his left side. No other symptoms: no dizziness, no headache, no slurred speech. Nothing. His first response was to ask his wife, Laura, to “help me to the living room and see if this passes.” Laura’s reaction was different. “I am calling the ambulance, you are having a stroke.”
 
David was sent to the hospital where a stroke was confirmed. After a stay in the hospital, he transferred to Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute. David quickly learned that recovery takes time. It takes hard work. It takes effort. It takes a willingness to prepare every day for noticeable improvement. Even if it doesn’t happen today, prepare anyway. David stated his focus was: God, Laura, his outlook on the future, and his support group.
 
The support group consisted of family, friends, and staff at SRI. When you mention his support group, David can’t help but smile.
 
“Dr. Timothy Murphree, he cared enough to learn I was a guitar picker and turn me on to new music that has helped my recovery,” David shared. “Lisa Jolley, Laura’s best friend from forever, and Joyce Young checked on me every night before they finished their shift. Erin Ehlers, my therapist! She was there every day. She earned the influence in my recovery that pushed me to get better.”

David wrote a book about his experience recovering from a stroke titled “You Can’t Walk On One Leg”

“I recently wrote a book about my experience. It is called, ‘You Can’t Walk on One Leg.’ The day I graduated from the program, I turned the corner to walk out of SRI for the last time. I was holding the walker, Laura was holding one arm and Erin was holding the other. The look on Erin’s face said ‘We made it.’ We set a goal and achieved it. I realized that God was holding all three of us!”

“The relationships I made at SRI are still thriving today!” David added with a smile.
 
David also wants everyone to know that God is in control. “Know that He has us in this place, at this time, for this reason. We don’t always understand our circumstances but they are a part of His plan for our lives. Success means we don’t allow the circumstance to dictate the outcome.”
 
“Our ‘trials’ would be better defined as ‘training.’ God knew how I would respond to a stroke. He knew that I would embrace the training, learn from it, and move on. Who we come in contact with is purposeful. God is not going to leave you alone in training.”
 
David is excited about the future and using his experience and his book as tools to share with others. He is thankful every day. “I live every day to the fullest and rest in the fact that I am a stroke survivor not a stroke victim. I am abled differently, but not disabled. There is a God in heaven and He is in control of every aspect of my life. My ultimate goal is to get this message to at least one more person!”
 
“I was blessed in my recovery to be introduced to SRI. Without all of you, there is no doubt that my recovery would have been this successful!”
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Bobby Watt

Bobby Watt is enjoying being home again after recovering from a ruptured patella tendon and COVID-19

Retired life was good for Bobby Watt. The former fireman enjoyed basketball, drag racing, and traveling. On a February trip to visit family and friends, Bobby ruptured his patella tendon.

Bobby returned to South Carolina and underwent surgery to repair the injury. During his recovery, he complained of shortness of breath and required oxygen. To wean from the oxygen, Bobby admitted to a long-term acute care hospital, where he spent 17 days. Due to the extended hospitalization, Bobby needed intense physical and occupational therapy. He transferred to Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute to further his recovery.

During Bobby’s stay, his shortness of breath returned. Accompanied by a low-grade fever and loss of taste and smell, he was tested for COVID-19.

The test came back positive.

Over the next couple of weeks, the staff at SRI rallied around Bobby. They inspired him to concentrate on healing and encouraged him to remain positive. During the day, he focused on a wooden cross that was placed outside his window. “The cross signifies my Lord and Savior, who was with me every step of the way,” Bobby stated.

Many of the staff stood out to Bobby for their exceptional care during this troubling time. “Stanley, Mike, Donna, Monique, Kaylan, Leah, Stacey, Josephina, Cathy, Felicia, Sally, Catherine, and so many others,” Bobby listed.

Of particular note was Mike, the chef at Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute. Chef Mike recognized that Bobby wasn’t eating well and asked what he could cook to help him. It didn’t matter if it was on the menu — Mike knew he needed his nutrition for healing. Bobby thought baked spaghetti and ribs sounded good. Chef Mike made both for Bobby that week.

Bobby shared another anecdote about Stanley, the Director of Nursing. He recalled how Stanley kept vigilant of his medical status and needs. Stanley would even bring him bottled water, because he couldn’t drink tap water.

“Overall, everyone went above and beyond my expectations,” Bobby added.

Bobby is currently home with family and doing well. He plans to continue healing and spending time with his family, including his grandchildren, and his best friend, Ani.

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Jerry Brickhouse

After an unexpected amputation of his left leg, Jerry Brickhouse came to SRI to learn how to live as an amputee.

“In June of this year, I went in for a bypass on my left leg that was planned…but it went badly turned into an amputation above the knee. I spent about three weeks total in the hospital. Then it was suggested I get inpatient rehab to learn how to function and get around. Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute was repeatedly mentioned as the best, so I really pushed to get in as soon as they could get me there. I had to get on with learning to live without a leg. From the moment I admitted, I knew that these people knew how to teach me to live as an amputee. And I was very eager to learn.

They did just that. From the PTs to the OTs, they got me up early each day and ran me through a series of exercises, drills, and routines designed to get me on track. They even traveled to my house with me to evaluate my living space and then trained me to function in my particular environment. This was a huge benefit for my wife, as she was concerned with how would she help me at home. I can’t tell you how valuable that was!

After two weeks I discharged and went home. About a month later I was fitted with my new prosthetic leg and had to learn how to walk on it. My only choice for outpatient therapy was SRI. I knew they would train me well, and I had complete confidence in the techs there. They did just that. I was there twice a week for about 10 weeks, and they taught me how to walk again! I’m getting stronger every day and will use the techniques they taught me for the rest of my life.

A very personal note is needed here. This amputation was totally unexpected, and it’s easy to fall into a dark hole over it. I’ve had my moments, believe me. But you can’t stay there, you have to climb out and get on with your life.

It’s a choice, but made much easier by the staff at SRI, especially Kayla, Monique, and Lidia, who literally would not let me slip too far, challenged me each session, and kept me on the path to healing and walking again.

All the staff at SRI are professional. But more important than that, they were dynamic, compassionate, and committed to teaching an old dog (aged 69) the new tricks he would need to start the new adventures ahead. I believe I ended up there because I was supposed to be there.”

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Carmelita Byrd

“Hello, I’m Carmelita Byrd, school counselor at McCarthy Teszler School, and I just want to share with you my experience of–let’s say, a health challenge–that I had a few years ago.

Let’s begin with the symptoms that I began to have in 2016. It was prior to December 2016 that I had some of these symptoms. They included weakness in my left arm, loss of strength in my left arm, slight tremors in my hand, and stiffness in my left arm as if my arm were frozen, and I could try everything to move it, but it just would not move. It was difficult for me to button my blouse, and when I began to feel a little soreness in my fingers, that’s when I decided, in December 2016, that I needed to go to the doctor. So I went to a neurologist here in Spartanburg. Based on my visible symptoms, my neurologist said it appeared to be dystonia, which is a movement disorder. However, he could not give a formal diagnosis until we did further tests. He went over those results with me:

  • Nerve ending tests: nothing glaring.
  • Blood work test: nothing glaring.
  • Spinal MRI: nothing at all.

But for the brain MRI, he did say that he needed to talk with me in another room. So with that said I was like, “uh oh, what is this?” He began to pull up on the computer screen a picture of my brain MRI, and that’s when he showed me that I had a brain tumor.

So my surgery was scheduled for June 23rd, 2017 at Emory Hospital in Atlanta. I was in the hospital at Emory for one week and I began seeing physical therapists, occupational therapists–everybody, I guess, with an “ist” at the end of their name came to see me during that week–and it was determined that I needed to be transferred somewhere for inpatient surgery.

So, I went to Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute, and my mom was there with me in the beginning. And so she met many of my therapists, occupational, physical therapists, and they just did a great job with me.

I think what helped though, is, I went there with certain things on my list about what I wanted to do and what I wanted to accomplish. At SRI, you need to have your own goals, what you want to accomplish, and the therapists help you to reach your own goals. It’s not goals that the therapists have, it’s goals that you set for yourself.

Also, I remember being in the kitchen at SRI where an assignment given to me was to follow instructions on the brownie box so that I could bake brownies. I actually baked brownies. Here at SRI, there is a facility that was a real kitchen. So that was really real life because that’s what I would have been doing at home. So they could see if I had certain skills that I still needed to learn and work on, or if I had mastered those skills. That’s the kind of work that they do here at SRI.

Lidia was the therapist who found a day that I could do some pool therapy. She actually got in the pool with me, and I was grateful for that because I felt that I could move a lot better just without a lot of effort. It just seemed like the water helped to guide me, so I loved being in the water.

Everybody here at SRI can help you meet your goals, but you have to determine what those goals are first. Basically, you are your car, and they are just the navigation system to help you to get where you need to go.

If you are not already familiar with SRI, I would encourage you to check them out because good things can happen to you from the good folks that are there.”

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Brian McDonald

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After suffering a stroke, Brian turned to SRI to help him regain his independence.

Brian McDonald, 55, was used to being a busy man. He worked full-time at Michelin as a mold assembly operator and owned a consignment shop. During his spare time, Brian enjoyed golf and seeking unique items for his store. But one November day, Brian’s world turned upside-down.

Visiting his mother, Brian noticed the right side of his body felt numb. “It was like it went to sleep,” he described of the sensation. Brian’s daughter, who works in the healthcare industry, recommended a visit to an urgent care facility. “From there, I was sent to Charlotte, NC, where I was diagnosed with an intraparenchymal hematoma.” This is when blood pools in the brain. Brian’s condition required a craniotomy.

“After surgery, I realized there were things I couldn’t do,” Brian recalled. “I never thought at 55 I would be in a situation where I couldn’t feed myself, bathe or go to the bathroom alone.”

For someone who lived such an active life, the sudden lack of independence proved challenging. But Brian wouldn’t allow this to be his new normal.

“After 30 days in the hospital, I was stable and ready for the next step,” Brian noted. The hospital recommended acute rehabilitation. “I knew about Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute from a family member,” said Brian. “The hospital was highly rated from friends and family, so it was an easy decision.”

Brian considers this to be a critical point in his road to recovery.

“Never did I expect what a good decision it was! Everyone from the front desk staff, dietary, nursing, therapy, and the guys that clean the floors were wonderful. There are people I remember from all areas of the hospital. They worked hard for me every day and I didn’t want to let them down.”

Brian certainly didn’t let anyone down. His hard work allowed him to discharge from inpatient rehab and return home.

But his work wasn’t done. Brian still had goals he wanted to achieve. “After I was released from the inpatient side they continued therapy on an outpatient basis,” Brian said. “I continued to get better and went back to work part-time 5 months later. Not only was I working, but doing normal activities again like cutting the grass and driving.”

“This experience reaffirmed my faith in God and people,” he continued. “Everyone at SRI contributed to my success and I am proud to share my experience.”

With Brian’s stroke in the rear-view mirror, he looks forward to living a healthier life. “In the future, I want to be more educated on my health and be proactive to stay healthy,” he said. “This was a wake-up call and I have reprioritized things in my life.”

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Ruby Meadows

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“Success for me was getting back to my home.”

Ruby Meadows is a retired, independent lady. She is a proud mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother to two little boys. Ruby was enjoying her family and loving life.

One night, coming home from Wednesday night supper at church, Ruby tripped and fell on her concrete steps. She sustained a scalp laceration and head injury. Although bleeding from her head, Ruby managed to find her keys and make it inside to call 9-1-1. Ruby spent nine days in the hospital, part of that time in ICU.

After Ruby was stabilized she transferred to Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute. On admission to SRI, Ruby needed help with eating, toileting, and dressing. Her balance was impaired and she needed maximum assistance with walking. Ruby spent two weeks in rehab.

Ruby and her son knew that SRI was the right choice for her rehab. Her husband had been a previous patient a few years prior.

From the day of admission, Ruby knew she wanted to do whatever it took to return to a “normal life.” She stated, “I could do everything before.”

There was no shortage of motivation for Ruby. “If they can do it, I can do it,” Ruby recalled thinking as she watched other patients in therapy. “The other patients motivated me. We were like family. The nurses and therapists were dedicated to my recovery, and in return, I wanted to do good for them.”

“I enjoyed everyone from the lady that helped me bathe the first day I arrived, to the friendly faces that served my food,” she added.

Ruby made great progress each day, culminating in her discharge home.

“The hospital staff lined up at the door and clapped the day I was discharged,” she remembered. “It made me feel special. The whole experience was wonderful!”

“The program was successful,” Ruby reflected on her time at SRI. “Success for me was getting back to my home. I live alone and wanted to be able to care for myself again. My plans for the future are spending quality time with my family. They are the most precious to me.”

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Recognized Among Top 10% in the Nation

Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute has been named in the Top 10 percent of inpatient rehabilitation facilities in the United States for the 4th year in a row. The hospital’s care was cited as being as being patient-centered, effective, efficient and timely.

“We strive to deliver this higher level of care as our standard,” says Richard Schulz, CEO of Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute. “We have graciously been recognized as a top performing facility for many years now, but we never take it for granted. Our staff is exceptionally passionate about helping patients reach their full potential through the care we provide. We work daily to ensure patients are reaching their highest levels of ability and independence.”

Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute was ranked in the Top 10 percent from among 870 inpatient rehabilitation facilities nationwide by the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR), a non-profit corporation that was developed with support from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The UDSMR maintains the world’s largest database of rehabilitation outcomes.

“If you take into account that a national study has previously shown that inpatient rehabilitation facilities provide better long-term results for patients, being ranked at the top of that group validates the quality of care we provide,” says Dr. Timothy Murphree, Medical Director of Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute, referencing a study commissioned by the ARA Research Institute that showed patients treated in inpatient facilities experienced improved quality of life as compared to skilled nursing facilities.

“To provide the highest level of rehabilitative care available to our own community is truly rewarding,” Murphree says. “This means our family, friends, and colleagues don’t need to leave the area to receive this level of care.”

Through the UDSMR, Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute also will collaborate with peers throughout the nation to share information and establish best practices for patients. “This helps elevate rehabilitative care for everyone across the United States,” Murphree says.

Spartanburg Rehabilitation Institute provides specialized rehabilitative services to patients who are recovering from or living with disabilities caused by injuries, illnesses, or chronic medical conditions. This includes, but is not limited to, strokes, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic injuries, cerebral palsy, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease.

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