Big Lake man learns to walk again after stroke

A Big Lake man is learning to use the left side of his body again, after waking up to find out he had a stroke.  We go along with this patient to physical rehabilitation to see how it is helping him regain his independence.

60-year-old Larry Pence enjoys being active - fishing and hunting - and building a new home on the lake.  But an early morning scare in July stopped him in his tracks.  "I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and just couldn't move my left leg, so my wife got me out of bed and I instantly hit the floor," said Pence.

Pence could not move his left leg and could barely move his left arm. He had suffered a stroke, due to a blood clot in his brain, and regaining movement was going to take a lot of work.  "I had bad thoughts," said Pence, "but I always have been really independent and I told them I was gonna walk."

Pence's help came through CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital's physical rehab team, including Mary Anne Filo, who sees patients with a range of rehab needs.  "Stroke, amputations, hip fractures and other orthopaedic conditions, degenerative neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease," said Filo.

For some patients, rehab starts at square one with relearning the basics.  "Grooming, transfers, walking. Eating, bathing, dressing," said Filo.

Pence's case required rehab three hours, five days a week.  It is a demand that is not always easy, but the results have meant independence.  "I could start a little bit of movement and every day I could move a little bit more," said Pence.

Spoken like a true resident of Sportsman's Paradise, Pence knows exactly what his first task will be once he is fully recovered.  "Walking in the marsh, hunting," said Pence.

There are three types of rehabilitation offered: occupational, physical and speech. Patients are accepted on referral from physicians, home health, social workers and nursing facilities.

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