Dennis Landosky - Rhodes, MI
"They kept on me; they would make sure I was getting the whole treatment."
Rehab Therapy Helped Him Regain His Speech, Mobility and Strength
Dennis Landosky of Rhodes, Mich., is used to working hard for what he wants. He has been married to his wife Paulette for 34 years, during which time they raised a son and two daughters. For years he worked as a foreman for a tool and die shop. That job gave him the finances to do what he really wanted: own and run a small farm. Now retired from his foreman job, Dennis focuses his energy on his five grandchildren and his farm work, which his wife describes as his "dream hobby."
A stroke is difficult for anyone, but can be particularly devastating to someone who normally leads such a full life. Such an event shook Dennis' life completely in December 2017. Aside from high blood pressure, no symptoms indicated that a stroke was imminent, and Dennis felt fine while cutting a load of wood earlier that day.
Sometime during the night, however, Dennis fell out of bed. When his wife asked if he was alright, he offered no response. She knew then that something was very wrong. Dennis began mumbling and tried to stand, but couldn't move well. He managed to prop himself up using his left side, but fell when he attempted to put weight on his right. Jumping into action, his wife pushed him the rest of the way onto the bed and called 911.
After his condition was stabilized, the extent of the damage became apparent: Dennis couldn't speak or move the limbs on his right side. He was sent to Flint for an intensive evaluation and recovery for over a week, then moved to Grand Rapids for six weeks of inpatient rehabilitation.
Though his physical condition had improved, Dennis could still hardly speak and had great difficulty moving his right arm and leg. He was in need of long-term rehabilitation, for which he was referred to MyMichigan Rehabilitation Services.
There, Dennis enrolled in a comprehensive set of therapies. Starting in late April, he began attending physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy sessions about twice each week. "I was doing everything, anything you can imagine," he said. Exercises included walking on the treadmill, doing balancing poses, hitting balls, picking up various objects, resistance band stretches and different vocal activities.
All the while, Dennis was learning – and re-learning – how to do different tasks. He learned how to keep his hand moving when at home so it would recover faster. "They kept on me; they made sure I was getting the whole treatment," he said. "Everything they gave me to do was completely different. They kept it a challenge."
Supporting Dennis along his recovery was a kind and experienced team of care providers. "The doctors were really nice," he said. Some of his favorite times were working one-on-one with his physical therapist, occupational therapist and speech therapist.
After three or four weeks, Dennis started to notice improvements. He could communicate better and could move his right hand more easily. Encouraged, he kept up with his exercises and advice from his therapists, and slowly but surely worked his way to recovery. His wife noticed that he seemed to be doing more activities.
Though not back to his old self completely yet, today Dennis is worlds ahead of where he was when he started his rehabilitation. He can speak clearly and understandably and is able to hold a conversation. He isn't eating with his right hand, but he can move it around and pick up items with it, such as his daily pills. After the stroke, his doctors put him on four medications and four vitamins supplements, which he takes every day. As a result, his blood pressure is better than it had been.
Because of the excellent care he received during his first round of therapy, Dennis hopes to return to MyMichigan for some more treatment this year. He hopes to further improve the strength and coordination in his hand and knows that the Rehabilitation Services team at MyMichigan can help him do just that. Thinking about what they have helped him accomplish so far still makes him emotional. As his wife says, "They're very special people to work with your family like that."
The goal of MyMichigan Health's Rehabilitation Services Program is to help patients achieve the highest possible degree of independence after an injury, illness or disability. Convenient appointments are offered in a variety of locations. Inpatient rehabilitation is also available for more complex conditions such as stroke, head injuries and spinal cord injuries. Those who would like more information may visit www.mymichigan.org/rehabilitation.