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Hector, 38, is a maintenance scheduler for a local nonprofit utility energy company, a City of Calipatria councilman and a commissioner for the Imperial County Transportation Committee. He shares his life-altering car accident and rehabilitation experience.
On Feb. 5, 2012, I suffered a stroke while driving on my way home from work. I crashed after I lost control of my SUV. My sustained injuries from the accident included a neck fracture and an artery injury. The stroke caused me to lose right side mobility in my arm and leg, and it weakened my left side. I was taken to the hospital and placed in a halo after undergoing fusion of the neck to join the fractured vertebrae.
Hector's wife Maria supported her husband throughout his recovery.
My wife, Maria, selected the rehabilitation center at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. Even though it is a long distance from home, she felt I would receive the best care here.
I took the steps to recovery by undergoing occupational and physical therapy for my right leg, right arm, torso and neck. With staff support, I eventually regained the use of both hands for self-care and other fine motor activities, with minimal residual weakness in my right arm and hand. I no longer needed the help of two individuals to get me in and out of bed. With minimal assistance, I was able to saunter with a walker or cane. Staff trained Maria so she could assist me with everyday activities after discharge. Not only did the staff show her everything that was needed to help me, they made certain she would not feel like a stranger at the hospital
Every evening during my two-month stay, my wife was able to stay overnight. Her loving support helped me maintain a positive attitude. According to nurses, our optimism was contagious on the unit and resulted in a faster recovery.
I am thankful for my experience with Sharp Grossmont and the dedication and respect they showed my wife and I. My success is attributed to my rehab doctor, Dr. Franklin Kalmar, and physical therapy employees Michelle Buckley, Celso Dimalcali and Sanmarie Konig. The staff became family to me. On the day of discharge, I was excited to go home and be with my son and daughter, who were my cheerleaders, and to continue the healing process with their support. However, my head was filled with many questions: Was it going to hurt on the way home? How was I going to do after I returned home — and who would be able to assist me? The answer is that everything is going to be okay. Everything fell into place once I was there.
Hector's children, Luna and Hugo, show their father their affection.
Remember your attitude makes a difference in your recovery process. The sooner you realize this and adopt a positive attitude, the faster you start to recover. Work along with the staff because they are trained to help and facilitate your recovery. It does not matter how bad it is today, tomorrow will be easier.
Find a Physical Therapy Doctor
To find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego physical therapy doctor or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.