A Little Encouragement Goes A Long Way

When Mary Clark had a stroke at age 72, her active and independent lifestyle experienced a big setback. The stroke – entirely unexpected with no warning signs – rendered Mary almost paralyzed on the left side of her body.

As she was recovering from the stroke at Michigan Medicine, Mary was offered an opportunity to be admitted to the Inpatient Rehabilitation program at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea.

“My doctor told me that Michigan Medicine physicians oversee the Rehab program in Chelsea, and I would be cared for by a good team in a private room that was twice as large,” Mary Clark said. “While I was hesitant, I agreed to go wherever became available first.”

It’s an experience Mary doesn’t regret – and in fact – tells everyone how phenomenal it was.

“From the doctors to the cleaning people, I had the most memorable experience,” Mary said. “The nurses, aides and therapy staff saw me at my best and at my worst. Their smiles and encouragement, even at the most embarrassing times, helped me get through each day.”

During her stay at St. Joe’s Chelsea, Mary regularly saw her Michigan Medicine physician and worked closely with physical and occupational therapy to regain her strength, range of motion and ability to complete basic tasks. 

“The occupational therapists were so helpful in teaching me to relearn the tasks that I needed for independent living. They always encouraged me with their infectious smiles, which gave me hope.”

When it came to physical therapy, Mary was pushed to keep trying and never give up. She learned how to get up and down stairs with one railing, knowing she’d need to be able to do that to enter her home.

Mary is home now and living independently again. She is much stronger and can use her left side more than before.

“I still have some weakness and continue to do therapy at home, but I have the tools to be home and live safely on my own.”

When she looks back on her St. Joe’s Chelsea experience, Mary credits her recovery to one key factor:

“There is a common thread among St. Joe’s Chelsea employees – a thread of encouragement and hope. Recovering from stroke is a tough road but the encouragement and hope from every person I encountered made all the difference. Their confidence and reassurance gave me hope that I can and would get better. And sure enough, I’ve made tremendous improvement.”

To learn more about Inpatient Rehabilitation at St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea visit the website or call 734-936-7059.

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