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Outpatient Center (401) 729-2326
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South Eastern Medical Center (508) 809-6424
The Center for Rehabilitation at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
There is nothing weak about Lester Olson.
The 67-year-old Pawtucket resident is a retired maintenance mechanic who still plays goalie for the Rhody Oldies hockey team. He and his wife also race around after their five-year-old granddaughter Charlette, who they are raising.
Then came the late December day in 2010 when Lester had a hemorrhagic stroke while sitting at his computer. He fell to the floor, but never lost consciousness and used his cell phone to call his wife who was elsewhere in the house. “I could not feel,” Lester says matter-of-factly. The stroke, which caused blood to leak into his brain, impacted the left side of his body.
Just four days later, after being treated in the Rhode Island Hospital Intensive Care Unit, Lester was discharged to Memorial Hospital’s Center for Rehabilitation for rehab. His goal was heart-felt and simple – he wanted to dance with his petite, brown-haired granddaughter at the St. Cecelia’s School father/daughter dance in March.
Lester’s journey included inpatient care at Memorial for one month, three weeks at home with the help of Memorial’s Home Care nurses and therapists, and then physical and occupational therapy until mid-summer. He was a star patient.
“Within two weeks I was walking again,” Lester says. “The Center for Rehabilitation taught me to function despite the fact that I could not feel.” This return to function included being able to go to the dance with his granddaughter. While other dads picked their daughters up to dance, Charlette stood on a chair so Lester could put his arms around her to join in.
“Being able to dance with Charlette at the dance inspired me to realize that I have more of my life left to live. My stroke slowed me down but did not stop me,” he says. He is quick to note that his positive recovery from the stroke is due to the Center for Rehabilitation staff that worked with him constantly and helped him adapt to what happened. A year after the stroke, Lester can drive, bathe and dress himself, help his wife with household chores and care for Charlette.
“The physicians, nurses, certified nursing assistants, occupational and physical therapists took exceptional care of me. They, along with my family have motivated me,” Lester explains.
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