However, on Oct. 9, 2012, his rehab team, nurses and new friends celebrated as he walked to cross the finish line they held up using a therapy band, cheering and clapping for the recovery he had experienced in the last 100 days. Teresa Lynch, physical therapy assistant, presented Adams with a certificate of graduation to benchmark his outstanding accomplishment.
Contrary to expectations he had before arriving at Life Care Center of Hixson, Adams describes his experience with the interdisciplinary team as “unbelievably good.” Even though his mother had gone to one of the highest-rated nursing homes in the St. Augustine, Fla., area after suffering a stroke, Adams still could not abide the idea of being in a skilled nursing facility. He says he was “scared to death.”
In addition, Adams was grieving a tremendous loss when he came to Life Care. He was in deep depression with little desire to live.
He shares, “My girlfriend died after 56 years together. I’m sorry – my wife. She was my girlfriend until the day she died. I still think of her as my girlfriend.
“I came over here, and I got over the fear of the place real fast because the people were nice and the building was nice, and kind nurses would give me a hug once in a while and smile. About four weeks ago, I suddenly realized I didn’t have depression anymore. I know this place isn’t supposed to cure depression, but it did.”
Little things made big differences for Adams. He credits the smiles and laughs for his positive experience and says it was the patience of caregivers like Lynch who wrapped his legs each day to reduce the swelling that aided his successful journey.
Lee Allen is an occupational therapy assistant who Adams says offered great wisdom during rough times and worked with him on activities of daily living. Allen shared that it was the other way around – Adams offering the words of wisdom.
“We just talked about life, keeping going and not quitting,” says Allen. “Even when we were working hard, he was very motivated. He was a little bedbound, tired and weak when he got here, but he wanted to get better. We started seeing progress rather quickly. His legs were very swollen; he couldn’t stand at all. Now, he’s able to get dressed, cook and go to the grocery store. We’ve done just about everything someone would potentially do when they go home.”
Adams was ready when the day came to leave the facility. Before walking independently to the exit, he said, “I am honored beyond belief, and I really mean it – I hope I get to see all of you again.”
Adams has three grown children, nine grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well. He went home to live with his daughter, son-in-law and Pomeranian pooch.