Gary Sweeden

An acute pontine stroke led Gary Sweeden to Vibra Rehabilitation Hospital of Denver. The stroke caused right hemiparesis, or weakness affecting one side of the body.

From the day of his admission, it was clear that Gary faced a long journey ahead. He required assistance from two people to stand and transfer to a chair or wheelchair. Gary also needed help with his activities of daily living, such as dressing and cutting up his food. In addition, Gary experience dysarthria as a result of the stroke. Dysarthria is a speech disorder caused by muscle weakness that causes slurred speech.

But equally evident was Gary’s determination to succeed. And succeed, he did.

From Day One, Gary pushed himself to the max, taking on every challenge with a smile and constantly seeking ways to improve. He began by setting personal goals, including being able to open his soda, tie his shoes, speak “normally,” and walk again. Then, every day, Gary dedicated himself to achieving these goals and worked his hardest to reach them.

Gary’s unwavering motivation helped him quickly progress toward his goals. He developed a keen awareness for analyzing his movements and self-correcting his speech and ambulation errors. Before long, Gary could independently complete his oral motor exercise program and clear speech strategies. He was thrilled to have finally achieved his speech goal.

Similarly, Gary made significant progress with his physical goals. He progressed from using a platform walker to a standard four-wheeled walker. By discharge, Gary could complete stairs and walk typical household distances.

Gary’s constant positive attitude had a powerful impact on his progression. Even in the middle of a long day of therapy, Gary always had a funny movie quote, joke, or smile to share with the staff. Everyone who crossed Gary’s path felt his infectious spirit and determination to succeed. Gary’s incredible support system of family and friends helped him on this journey and praised his hard work.

Before discharging from Vibra, Gary met all the goals he set for himself. But, most importantly, Gary achieved his ultimate goal of safely returning home to his family.