Before admitting to Bloomington Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, Barry Sutherlin lived a “pretty normal life.” He lived with his wife, Sharon, and enjoyed mowing, playing with his dogs, and visiting with his family, especially his grandkids. During our interview, Barry recalled his last trip to visit his newest granddaughter in Vermont. He last saw her when she was just 4-6 months old. Then COVID hit, and it had been four years since Barry had seen her. However, before this incident, he recently had time to visit his granddaughter in Vermont, which brought him a lot of joy.
One morning, Barry woke up feeling weak. “I did not know what was going on. I just kept going about my day, and before long, my right leg was giving out.” Barry wound up falling and could not use his right leg to get up. “I knew the signs of a stroke but didn’t think that I was having a stroke.”
However, Barry’s weakness progressively worsened to the point he had another fall. “I couldn’t keep my legs underneath me. I didn’t have a headache or other symptoms, just weakness. It just kept getting worse throughout the day.” Barry’s wife, Sharon, took him to the ER after his second fall that day. “Once at the ER in Paoli, I was evaluated, and they decided to transfer me to IU Health Bloomington, where I saw a neurologist and an MRI.
The MRI confirmed that Barry did have a stroke.
The diagnosis led Barry to BRRH for an inpatient rehabilitation stay. “I chose BRRH because my neurosurgeon and my therapy team at the hospital recommended it because I needed an intense program to get my function back. Also, I had a liaison, Amber, who came to my room and explained the program. She was very nice and knowledgeable. She explained the program and thought I would be a good candidate to come here.”
Barry arrived at BRRH motivated and ready to work. “I didn’t like only having use of half of my body. I wanted to regain as much function as possible. I just don’t like sitting around. I wanted to get back to my activities, visiting my grandkids and family, playing with my dogs, and mowing the grass.”
Fortunately for Barry, he found a team equally as motivated to help him recover from the stroke. “When I got here, the entire team was so encouraging. They celebrated small wins with me. Just the slightest movement on my right side, and they would encourage me and tell me to keep trying. Now I have use of my right leg, and my right arm is coming back. I really think I can get back to doing those things!”
“I especially want to thank MariBeth and Marla. I had a number of different therapists and nurses throughout my stay, but they were the main ones I worked with. They set me up for success not just here but also for when I go home. They made recommendations for my home and really helped me out. They helped me so much. I am really gonna miss them.”
Though Barry will miss the BRRH team, he’s looking forward to returning home. “I am most excited to get back to living life and my routine. I am excited to visit my grandkids. I am also looking forward to continuing my rehab to get the most out of my right side as possible.”
“I want to thank all the people who helped me along the way. There are so many. At the hospital, my church congregation, who helped build my ramp at home, the kids from our rival high school who all signed a board and wrote well wishes on the ramp, and all the good people who encouraged me all along the way. Everyone here at BRRH, from linen to the cafeteria (great food) to the nurses, therapists, and others. Thank you!”