Outlet: KVOA-TV Online
Reporter: Sean Mooney

After a person suffers a stroke there are many factors that determine how much mobility will come back to the patient. How soon they receive treatment is very important, but physical rehabilitation is a big part of getting victims back on their feet.

Some might say Randy Richard experienced a miracle after arriving at rehabilitation facility in Tucson, but the people who helped him during his recovery will tell you it was determination and a lot of hard work that made Randy whole again.

On January 23rd Richard underwent bypass and heart valve replacement surgery. The procedure went well. The next day he had a massive stroke.

Richard remained in intensive care for two weeks before he was moved to the HealthSouth Rehabilitation Institute of Tucson. It would be another week before he was aware of what happened to him.

“When I woke up, I knew I had problems because I was paralyzed on the right side.”

It was worse than that, on an evaluation scale, scored from 1 to 7, Richard was at the bottom across the board. Completely incapacitated his outlook was grim. Serena Howard, who was one of Richard’s care givers, said that, at first,
he was a reluctant patient.

“He was very agitated in the beginning, he was skeptical, he had that look on his face like, okay what am I doing here, what are these people doing to me.”

Undeterred the HealthSouth staff pushed him everyday. And little by little, as Richard started to regain movement and strength, he began to push himself.

“I started to stretch myself, if i can do this, why can’t i do this”, said Richard, “Why can’t I walk down the hall using the walker, why couldn’t I go outside.” Serena Howard said after Richard started to reach goal after goal his outlook on recovery completely changed.

“It was like he knew he was here to work, and that’s what we do here””, said Howard, “We are rehab, we’re here to work, we don’t let you slide, we don’t let you lie in bed.”

After 28 days Randy Richard was released from the rehab facility having, in his words, been given his life back.

“I won’t say I’m 100 percent”, Richard said, “But I’m damn close to it.”

Richard’s wife Kathy credits HealthSouth for making it happen.

“It just seems like a dream, we’re RV-ing, going back and doing life like we did””, said Richard, “”And now that he is retired, we’re enjoying life, so I credit Health South for all of this, bringing him back to me.”

This week is National Stroke Week. If you would like to learn more about physical rehabilitation following a stroke.