Ed Rawls’ Story

Ed Rawls, 76, didn’t receive the aggressive care he could have following a hemorrhagic stroke in 2004. But he’s making up for lost time, thanks to his participation in Drake Center’s research program.

The first sign of stroke happened as I was driving home from the grocery store with a friend. She kept saying I was drifting over the center line, but I didn’t believe anything was really wrong until I got home. I felt strange, and when I called my doctor to talk about it he told me to wait for an hour or so before going to the hospital. I did, and then in the hospital I waited some more. I guess no one realized how serious my condition was.

“It turned out I’d had a pretty bad stroke. My whole left side was affected. I had some outpatient therapy shortly after being discharged from the hospital, and that helped me regain most of my ability to walk. But for the next few years, I was stuck as far as my recovery. My left arm was still very weak. I admit it was depressing.

“About three years ago, my daughter saw an advertisement for Drake Center’s research program. Since then I’ve enrolled in every Drake research study I qualified for – six in all. Some studies provide physical therapy, others involve using an adaptive device. I like knowing that my participation might help scientists come up with new treatments, and that some of the studies have aided my recovery.

“In addition to participating in the research studies, I have had extra physical therapy at Drake and gone to the hospital’s aquatic therapy class. My arm is doing a lot better, and I only have to use a cane sometimes now. My next goal is to get back on the dance floor.

“I can’t say enough about the therapists at Drake Center. They are very respectful, friendly and encouraging. They’ve let me know that if I try hard enough, I can accomplish a lot. I am doing the best I can with what I have, and knowing that has really lifted my spirits.


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