Patient Story

David Reed, Stroke Survivor

Former parks planner David Reed credits the team at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center's Oregon Rehabilitation Center with getting him back on his feet after a stroke knocked his life off course in November 2011.

David, 71, of Springfield, began acting confused and disoriented during a weekend getaway in Newport with his wife, Kathy, whose mother had experienced a stroke a few months earlier. "I knew the symptoms," the elementary school teacher said. "He kept trying to talk to me, but he wasn't making any sense."

An ambulance took David to the hospital in Newport, where doctors determined that a blood clot was blocking blood flow to part of his brain. His wife insisted he be taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. "I knew that was the best care he could get," Kathy said.

Sacred Heart personnel had a bed ready for David when he arrived. The window for administering clot-dissolving drugs had closed. All they could do was wait and hope the clot resolved on its own before too much damage was done.

"The first night was really hard," Kathy said. "He was so tired, so frightened."

David's condition stabilized over the next several days at the hospital, and he was transferred to a skilled care facility. Once he built up his tolerance for therapy, he was transferred to inpatient rehabilitation at the Oregon Rehabilitation Center in Eugene. "He couldn't walk, he couldn't talk, and he had difficulty with cognition," Kathy explained. He spent the three weeks before Christmas that year in Oregon Rehabilitation's inpatient program at Sacred Heart, where he underwent three hours of physical, occupational and speech therapy each day.

"They were really kind and really helpful," David said, praising the work of his physical therapist in particular. Although he was home by Christmas, he continued to work with the therapists at Outpatient Rehab through June 2012, when he was formally discharged from all therapy.

Now retired, David leads an active life. He works out at the gym at Sacred Heart's Oregon Heart & Vascular Institute in Springfield four days a week. He practices Tai Chi twice weekly as part of an Oregon Research Institute study on the effects of exercise on stroke survivors. He participates in a book club for stroke survivors at the University of Oregon. And he recently penned an editorial supporting a local parks bond.

The couple praised the doctors, therapists and staff at the Oregon Rehabilitation Center for their work toward David's recovery. "I can't tout it enough," Kathy said. "He just had the most wonderful care. It has made the biggest difference in our lives."