Sutter Rehabilitation Institute
Brad - A Long Road Home
Brad Barber lay motionless in the Intensive Care Unit at Sutter Roseville Medical Center after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke. Neurosurgeon Kavian Shahi, M.D., Sutter Neuroscience Institute, treated Brad, who was intubated and closely monitored. The outcome looked grim. Brad’s wife, Lynda had to tell her grown sons Greg and Spencer, their dad might not make it.
At 50 years old, Brad was successful professionally and his great loves included his wife and sons. He also enjoyed the outdoors, especially beach vacations with his family and playing golf. He seemed too young and vital to be in the hospital near death.
While hundreds of people in churches prayed for Brad and his family, including those in a tiny church in Africa, hospital staff recommended to Lynda that they work together to prepare an “end of care” plan. During the heartbreaking planning session, Dr. Shahi stepped into the room. Smiling, he said, “Your husband just gave me the ‘thumbs-up’ sign.”
As Brad slowly turned the corner to recovery in the ICU, Lynda toured the Sutter Rehabilitation Institute (SRI) located on the medical center’s campus. SRI, an inpatient rehabilitation center that treats patients disabled by illness or injury, provides 24-hour rehabilitation care for patients who are able to tolerate an intensive therapy program of at least three hours a day. Due to his severely weakened state, Brad could not transfer right away to this acute rehabilitation center.
Instead he was discharged to a local post-acute care facility that provides short term rehabilitation. There Brad worked to regain his strength and begin physical therapy to ready himself for the SRI. This included very fundamental tasks, such as sitting up, for the very first time, after the stroke. Weak as a kitten, Brad lay in his facility bed and wondered if he’d ever walk again. He yearned to be well again and dreamed of a vacation at the beach with his wife and sons.
One day, while Lynda was visiting Brad in the local facility, she saw a familiar face arrive. It was Lisa Leis, RN, from SRI. Lisa came to determine if Brad was physically ready to transfer to SRI. Although still weak and not able to use his left side, Lisa determined Brad was ready for SRI’s therapy. Brad arrived at the SRI the first week of January. His treatment included speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.
In the beginning, staff used a lift to help Brad out of bed and into a wheelchair. Later, during one of the therapy sessions the staff placed Brad into a walking harness that lifted him up on his feet in order to learn to stand, and eventually walk. Brad says that experience was amazing. He could finally envision his future as being back to normal, as someone who could take care of himself. Maybe he’d even get to the beach with his family.
Finally, after 11 weeks of hospital and rehabilitation care, Brad was ready to go home. Through the long and sometimes frightening weeks, Brad went from being close to death, to alive but severely disabled, to walking with a cane.
Brad and Lynda spent a final night in SRI, in the independent living apartment, which features a living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Linda was able to take care of Brad on her own that night knowing SRI staff was close by if she hit an obstacle. The next day the two headed home.
These days Brad is still undergoing therapy but on an out-patient basis. He is back to playing golf, a few holes at a time. And this summer Brad is finally taking his family to the beach.
Learn more about the Sutter Stroke Network.
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