The story begins 17 years ago in a neighborhood cul de sac in Huntsville, Alabama. A young high school sophomore needed help in geometry. Tom, a neighbor, and friend of the family, volunteered to tutor Ty not knowing that this young man would help him repay the favor years later. Reflecting on his experience years later, Ty described his friend as, “short on words, but when he did speak, you better be listening, it was worth hearing.”
On February 7, 2012, Tom was not feeling well. He had periods of confusion and began having trouble walking. Tom went to see his family doctor and who sent him to Huntsville Hospital where he was admitted.
An MRI confirmed that Tom had suffered two strokes on the right side of his brain and one in his brain stem. This affected his left side, which was devastating, because Tom is left handed. The strokes left him with left sided paralysis.
After five days at Huntsville Hospital, Tom was transferred to HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of North Alabama. At the time of admission to HealthSouth, Tom said, “my whole left side was totally out. My speech was messed up and my legs felt like spaghetti noodles. I felt useless.”
Therapy began the next day. Tom was working in the gym with his therapist, when he heard a voice say, “Tom??” Tom looked and recognized a familiar face, Ty Farr, his former neighbor, and the young man he had helped with geometry many years ago. Ty worked with Tom and oversaw his therapy care. Ty told Tom, “You helped me pass geometry and now I’m going to help you walk again!”
Tom began working with Ty and other therapists to help with his walking, dressing and speech. Tom commented, “the HealthSouth staff became my second family. Even though my wife, Ronda, stayed with me every night, I had such great care from my nurses and techs.”
After almost 3 weeks at HealthSouth, Tom was discharged home using a wheelchair and walker. His speech was rough and he still had limited movement in his left hand. Tom became a patient in the HealthSouth outpatient department, where Ty continued to oversee his physical therapy.
Tom is back at work as vice president of technical operations at DRS Technologies. “I can’t thank my HealthSouth family enough,” said Tom. “Ty told me when he discharged me from outpatient therapy, ‘ok Tom, now the debt is paid in full.’” Tom replied, “I got the better end of that deal!”