“I feel great!”

These are the words spoken by Elder Billy Spray as he packed his room in preparation to return home. “My leg feels 100% better. My balance is a lot better. I can actually walk with a walker.” This is a sharp contrast to Mr. Spray’s feelings after he was hospitalized after suffering multiple falls following a stroke.

He came to The Bridge at Monteagle in December 2016. At that time, Mr. Spray indicated that he was feeling hopeless. He recalls, “I felt useless…like a wet noodle. I couldn’t move nothing. I couldn’t move my arms or my legs. I couldn’t walk. I was confused. I couldn’t remember nothing. My speech was slurred. I actually thought I was dying.” Mr. Spray becomes emotional thinking about his journey.

Over the past three months, Mr. Spray participated in intensive therapy to rehabilitate his strength, balance, coordination, cognition, and speech. Evaluations from the physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech language pathologist confirm Mr. Spray’s description of his condition. At the initiation of therapy services, he was unable to walk, required assistance for all activities of daily living, and exhibited difficulty with memory and executive functioning. Through his hard work and dedication in conjunction with skilled therapeutic interventions, Mr. Spray was able to meet 34 short term and long term goals set for him by his therapists. He is ambulating 400 feet with the use of a walker, transferring himself, able to dress himself, communicating without difficulty, and able to use strategies for memory and safety to facilitate improved independence. And he is preparing to leave this facility to return home with friends. This surpassed his own expectations for himself.

As Mr. Spray is preparing to return home–a goal that he was not sure he would be able to achieve in the beginning of his journey–he shares hugs and some tears with the caregivers who he credits for helping him accomplish this milestone. His parting words have touched the hearts of those who have come to know and care for him deeply. “Y’all did a good job,” he says. “Felicia (PTA), Jessica (SLP), Meredith (OT)…y’all were life savers. Thanks to all the nurses and CNAs who were really good to me. I would recommend this place to anybody…everybody especially stroke victims.”

Rehab Services Manager, Tracy Valles, expressed her pride and gratitude for the blessing of getting to serve Mr. Spray. “Our team continues to have excellent outcomes when serving the elders at our community. Mr. Spray represents the positive outcomes that can occur when dedicated therapists and hard working elders work towards a common goal, improving independence.”

Mr. Spray’s hard work and dedication have been an inspiration and life lesson for the staff at The Bridge at Monteagle. And it is a lesson that we will not soon forget.

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