Life can change in a second. Richard was home alone when he fainted while standing at the bathroom sink. He woke up on the floor unable to move, not knowing that he compressed five vertebrae when he fell against the wall. Fortunately, his daughter found him and immediately called 911.
Richard was rushed to the hospital where two rods and a number of screws were inserted in his spinal column, but his doctors told him that he would probably be a quadriplegic. In despair at the thought of living his life unable to move or walk, Richard worried about being a burden to his family.
Once out of the ICU, Richard was transferred to Gaylord Hospital where his condition was stabilized and monitored. “I was afraid of going to Gaylord, because I thought it meant that there was no hope for my condition,” he says. Richard arrived at Gaylord in a head and neck brace, unable to move. But there was a ray of hope – he could move a thumb and big toe. Within days he was sitting in a wheelchair, and within weeks his neck and head brace were removed.
With regular physical therapy Richard soon began walking while working on gaining strength and balance. His occupational therapy focused on developing his upper body and arm strength. “A real highlight was being able to finally feed myself,” he says.
After two months at Gaylord, Richard walked out of the hospital and went home without a cane or wheelchair. He returned to Gaylord for regular outpatient therapy. Richard is now able to lead a relatively normal life and he credits Gaylord for much of his remarkable recovery. “Gaylord provided me with wonderful therapy and the hope and encouragement to regain my life,” he comments.
Months later, Richard wrote to The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven in support of Gaylord during their GiveGreater charitable giving challenge, saying, "Even after being discharged from Gaylord, I continued with outpatient therapy for nine months. Thanks to their outstanding nursing and therapists I am 90% better today, walking, driving and taking care of myself when my surgeon thought I was going to be a quadriplegic for life. I was one of his and Gaylord's miracles. It is a fantastic place and I do volunteer work there now. They gave me my life back."