It was the day before Thanksgiving in 2015, when Pocomoke resident William Hargrove was sitting at his kitchen table, having dinner with his wife. The meal was coming to an end when William noticed that he was having some difficulties speaking. Then, when trying to reach for a cookie, he couldn’t grab it. He realized that something was not right and his wife called 911. Later at the hospital, after going through many tests, William learned that he had suffered a stroke in his left basal ganglia, which is a group of structures in the base of the brain that is involved in coordination of movement. Thereafter, he suffered from a speech impediment and loss of fine motor control on the right side of his body, including his hand and foot.
Immediately after his stroke, William stayed at The HealthSouth Chesapeake Rehabilitation Hospital in Salisbury, Maryland for two weeks, where he participated in rigorous speech, occupational, recreational, and physical therapy exercises. After being discharged, William’s speech and motor skills had drastically improved, but his journey was not over.
William’s hour long therapy sessions at the Pocomoke clinic consisted of supervised warm-ups and workouts intended to improve his dexterity and mobility. His therapy exercises were often personalized to achieve the goal of making everyday tasks that had become very difficult, easier to perform. In March of 2016, after three months of biweekly appointments, William no longer needed to attend supervised physical therapy.
Today, William still has some difficulty performing certain tasks that require quick movement and continues to find writing and typing a bit challenging. However, he is proud to say that he feels 95% recovered and is now able to enjoy yard work, bike riding, woodworking, and boatbuilding (full-size and model boats). Several times a week, William rides his bike anywhere from 20 to 25 miles and he has built three full size boats.
A combination of the Tidewater Physical Therapy team and William’s positive outlook on the process was key to his successful recovery. William said, “The entire staff at the Pocomoke office were all very encouraging for the duration of my therapy. They were always seeking new challenges for me to speed me toward recovery.” When asked what made his story unique, William responded with, “My attitude. I am better today than yesterday, but not as good as tomorrow.”