Recipe for Recovering from a Stroke

Eric Smith in the pool with aquatic specialist Lisa Newport

Eric Smith in the Daniel Drake Center warm-water pool with aquatic specialist Lisa Newport

Variety is the spice of life. For Eric Smith, it might also be the secret sauce to recovering from two strokes.

Eric, a chef by trade, experienced his first stroke in November 2013 at the age of 53. The stroke left his speech slurred and the left side of his body numb. Through hard work and rehab, he progressed from wheelchair, to walker, to cane, to walking a mile without a cane.

Yet a year later, he suffered another stroke, and that second stroke set his recovery back. “The second stroke sapped his strength. This time around we had spoken with other people in the stroke community, and we were looking for the best in the region. This time, we came to Daniel Drake Center for exercise and wellness resources,” said his brother Adrian.

After a one-month stay in an inpatient rehabilitation facility, Eric spent three months of outpatient rehabilitation therapy at UC Health Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care. By March 2015, he had regained some of his strength, balance and speech. But Eric wanted to be able to do more.

So he began participating in specialized exercise and wellness classes available at Daniel Drake Center, including the Extremity Forced Use Class for arm strength; two stroke exercise classes; a “water walking” class; and open exercise in the wellness center. His favorite classes take place in Daniel Drake Center’s warm-water therapy pool.

“Eric really loves the water—it gives him freedom and, at the same time, strength,” says Lisa Newport, a certified aquatic instructor who teaches classes at Daniel Drake Center. “His balance, walking and endurance are definitely improving, and he’s very motivated to get better.”

Eric comes from his home in Fairfield to Daniel Drake Center four days a week to take advantage of these programs, often accompanied by his brother, Adrian. “I don’t think Eric could have made so much progress without all of the wellness and outpatient services at Daniel Drake Center,” Adrian says.

Eric’s goals include being able to do everything he did before his strokes, including returning to work. A key ingredient will be continuing to take classes at Daniel Drake Center, where the classes themselves are just part of the appeal. “The people at Daniel Drake Center are very uplifting, supportive and encouraging,” Eric says.

His brother Adrian agrees. “As they say in the stroke support groups, there are no stop signs, only the ones that you put up yourself.”

Daniel Drake Center offers a wide variety of aquatic and wellness exercise programs, as well as open sessions in the pool and fitness center. Some classes are specialized for people who have Parkinson’s disease or arthritis, or have experienced a stroke. To learn more, call (513) 418-2727.

This entry was posted in Success Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.