Left to right: Heather Martin, physical therapist; Tina Kelly; Jerry Kelly; and Sara Sherrer, occupational therapist assistant


By patient Jerry Kelly


I sustained a life-threatening head injury during a fall in December 2016 and sufferd two strokes as a result.


One stroke took my sense of balance and coordination, and the other took my right field of vision in both eyes. Because of my history of peripheral neuropathy caused from cancer treatment in 1994, I previously walked with a walker.


On the very first day of rehab at Life Care [Center of Brookfield, Missouri], I expected much of the same type of therapy that I had received [elsewhere]. They had worked on helping me regain strength and balance, but I had not done any walking. However, I walked with my walker across the gym not once but two times on my first day here!


Heather [Martin, physical therapist] went to get my wife so she could see me, and my wife thought she had the wrong patient. She couldn’t believe I was walking. It was such an amazing feeling for me to regain something that I wasn’t sure I would be doing again. Granted, it took Heather, Sara [Sherrer, occupational therapist assistant] and Brenda [Niemeier, occupational therapist] to get me across the gym, but I walked. I walked!


In addition to the physical strength, balance and ability to walk again with my walker taught by physical therapy, all the therapists have been amazing at encouraging me to keep progressing.


Occupational therapy has helped me learn to tie my shoes again, and I joked with them that I’ve had to learn this three times; the third time was the easiest. I also joked with Sara about getting my beach body back. At least I can now dress and feed myself on the beach. Both PT and OT have continually reminded me to sit up straight. It’s funny that even fellow residents and associates would go by me and say, “Sit up straight, Jerry.”


Speech therapists worked with me on my reading and communication skills. Sharing stories and joking with Alicia [Rojas, speech therapist] helped me relearn many skills I had lost. My vision is still poor, but reading is getting better. Family members have commented on how my speech and language have improved.


While I was a patient here, Connie [Sevier] and Tammy [Jamison] in the activities department helped reinforce many of the skills I was regaining in therapy, and it kept me busy. Playing cards with the ladies is very therapeutic for a guy who can’t see well or remember his numbers. They were very patient with me. One of my favorite activities was the trip to the boat. The going-home party was also a great memory for me.


Life Care therapy and the entire Life Care Center of Brookfield staff have definitely helped me get my life back. My family says it has been remarkable watching me progress. I’m beyond thankful for all the therapists, assistants and all the staff here at Life Care for their kindness and dedication.


Editor’s note: Jerry Kelly went home to his wife on May 4, 2017, and is continuing outpatient therapy at Life Care Center of Brookfield.