Gary Flesch’s Story

Gary Flesch, 58, had a devastating stroke in July 2007. He attributes his dramatic recovery to the staff at Drake Center and the tremendous support of his wife, Linda.

After my stroke, I couldn’t even sit up at first, and I couldn’t use my left arm or walk. The doctors made a point of telling me, ‘You had a BIG stroke.’ They were trying to help me understand that I might never be the way I was. But I’ve always been hardheaded and stubborn, so I thought, ‘The heck with that, we’ll just see what happens.’

“I had outpatient therapy for two months at a hospital near my home, and progress was slow. Linda and I decided to switch to Drake Center because of its reputation, and the staff there took my recovery to the next level.

“At Drake, I had physical, occupational and speech therapy, and my therapists always went the extra mile. It would have been easy for them just to tell me what to do and watch me do it, but instead they took the time to pay attention, to come up with alternate ways of doing things, to keep me honest and make sure I didn’t cut corners. They truly care, they really do, and their kindness and consideration means a lot to Linda and me.

“Everyone at Drake is exceptional – therapists, doctors, receptionists, everyone. I always looked forward to therapy, because I felt like folks here were rooting for me.

“Now I can drive and I can walk without a cane, which has restored a lot of my independence. My outpatient therapy ended in June 2008, but I’m participating in a research study at Drake that’s looking at ways to treat leg weakness in stroke patients. I’m doing this partly because it includes a therapy component, which is helping me get stronger, and also because I just want to give something back to the place that has helped me so much.


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