Since the age of 14, John Souder of Madison, Alabama, has embraced a love for motorcycles and guitars. His passion carried him through the years, steering him to play in bands and ride on the weekends with friends. There never was a dull moment.
On March 5, 2011, all of that came to an abrupt halt. While looking forward to Saturday’s norm of fun and relaxation, John, age 61, noticed a change in his walking patterns. When attempting to walk a straight line, he veered to the right, bumping into the wall. And when trying to sit in a chair, he simply could not do it. A friend immediately called 911.
Once at Parkway Medical Hospital in Decatur, the medical staff alerted its team that John was suffering from a blood clot, causing a stroke. A “TPA” clot buster was added to his IV to stop any further damage – a risky procedure, but one that worked. After three days in the hospital, John was referred to HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of North Alabama in Huntsville to begin his therapy.
Upon his arrival to HealthSouth, John could not walk or use his right hand. Therapy commenced almost immediately, with physical and occupational therapies scheduled most days. The use of advanced technologies helped John get back on his feet, eventually progressing to a quad cane. And his hand slowly regained some of its strength and ability.
John took an active role in therapy, enjoying the support he received from the entire HealthSouth staff. He is also thankful for support his family offered throughout the process.
“My daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Tom, were a tremendous help to me. You’ve got to have a support network when you go through something like this. I am so glad that I did.”
John was discharged, walking out on his own. When interviewed later at a local television station, one of John’s therapists came to see him in the studio. “The fact that she took her day off to see how I was doing meant so much to me,” John commented.
Today, John continues to work full time and takes his Harley out every chance he gets. As for playing with his band, he hopes to rejoin the group once his hand function continues to improve. Until then, he stays active by working out and enjoying life.