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 Robert Kyle - Stroke Rehabilitation

At age 70, Bob Kyle was very active pursuing his “fourth career” as an environmental activist. He loves the outdoors and has wanted to do whatever he can to improve the environment and quality of life for future generations.

Bob was just finished with an environmental lobby session downtown, in fact, when he suffered a hemorrhagic stroke on March 31, 2009. Since then, this active grandfather of six and father of three has had to focus a lot of his time and energy on himself so that he can get back to his calling for helping others. “My fifth career has been recovering from my stroke,” jokes Bob. His observation stems from the amount of time, energy and effort that’s involved in the extensive rehabilitation process that has consumed him and his family.

As a patient of The Ohio State University Medical Center Stroke Rehabilitation Program, Bob has continued to progress enough that he recently began a “sixth career” as an advocate for the disabled through the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC).

Find out more about Bob’s recovery through Ohio State’s Stroke Rehabilitation Program:

I was admitted to Dodd Hall … on June 10, 2009. My stroke left my left side paralyzed and I was unable to swallow. I was recommended to go to Dodd Hall by the staff at another rehabilitation facility because they thought I had the potential to progress further in my rehabilitation.

During a typical day at Dodd Hall … I started therapy at 9 a.m. including speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy and recreational therapy. The environment there is intense but wonderful. All of the therapists played a big part in my rehabilitation. Everyone there is very positive. They won’t let you be lazy and are good task masters to keep you motivated. Dr. Sharon McDowell and all of my therapists deserve credit for my success because they pushed and encouraged me.

A high point of inpatient rehabilitation … was recreation therapy when we were out in the Dodd Hall garden doing therapeutic gardening because I really enjoy the outdoors.

One of my main goals while at Dodd Hall was … relearning how to swallow and eat without a feeding tube. By the time of my discharge on June 24, 2009, I was eating with some restrictions. This was a huge accomplishment because I hadn’t swallowed anything through my throat for three months after my stroke. My speech therapist, who worked on my swallowing and speech, is specially qualified to perform electronic stimulation, which activates the muscles on the throat necessary for swallowing.

In addition to swallowing, I could walk a short distance with a quad cane and I was beginning to get some movement in my fingers after my two weeks of inpatient care at Dodd Hall.

I started outpatient rehabilitation … at Ohio State’s Martha Morehouse Medical Plaza in July 2009 for both physical and occupational therapy. We have worked on strengthening my core muscles and muscle tone to help improve my walking. My last day of outpatient rehabilitation was March 3, 2011.

Because of outpatient rehabilitation … I can now walk for about a mile to a mile and a half; I can take a shower without sitting down on a shower stool; and I can use my left hand more. I progressed to the point where I could do the Driver Rehabilitation Program and am driving now with a steering wheel spinner and a turn signal crossover (two adaptive devices). While I’m able to do many things, the main difference is that everything takes longer to do.

One of the special therapies I am receiving … through the Stroke Rehabilitation Program is Botox injections to help improve my muscle control. I’ve had six treatments because the effects taper off and have to be repeated. Albert Clairmont, MD, a spasticity specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, administers the treatments.

If there’s a silver lining to having a stroke … I would say that it’s the impact on my relationships with my family and friends. They have been so wonderful and we are closer now than before. My wife and daughters were tremendous as far as being advocates and caregivers.

I thank God that my mind wasn’t damaged by the stroke and I didn’t lose the ability to comprehend what I wanted to do. I have been able to set goals and get on with my life even if my physical abilities weren’t the same.

My current goals include … trying to improve function in my left hand since I am left handed, so that I can use it more. I want to continue to get stronger so I can do more things that I enjoy, such as hiking on primitive trails instead of flat surfaces.

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