A Silver Lining After Illness and Injury

Michael Gallagher of Saginaw is remarkably upbeat about — what he calls — his two “speed bumps” and the “souvenirs” they’ve left behind in his life. The first was a life-threatening stroke in 2009 that left him partially paralyzed on his left side. The second was a broken hip just a few years later — the result of tripping on stairs in his garage.

Both brought him to HealthSource Saginaw for acute inpatient rehabilitation, where Michael discovered top-notch, creative, compassionate care. Both introduced him to people he would not otherwise have met — professionals he cherishes as people and experts he credits with producing his outstanding recovery outcomes.

Michael’s journey to recovery at HealthSource began after his stroke. He had collapsed in the parking lot of his gym. The brain bleed he suffered created a clot the size of a softball. “I wasn’t supposed to make it,” Michael explains. “It was so severe.”

But he DID make it. After two weeks in a neuro intensive care unit, Michael was discharged with a recommendation for one of two reputable inpatient rehabilitation facilities — one on the other side of the state, the other right in his own backyard…HealthSource Saginaw. Michael’s family chose HealthSource because it came so highly recommended and was so much closer for family and friends to visit.

At HealthSource, he worked with speech-language pathologists for speaking and cognitive issues. He worked with physical therapists who got him up and walking. Occupational therapists helped him relearn the activities of daily living with one hand.

“My therapists told me it wouldn’t be easy,” he remembers. “They said it would be one of the hardest things I would ever do. But these people were so motivational, encouraging, and creative. They continuously thought outside the box to personalize therapy for me. I saw them going above and beyond, and I really WANTED to do my part by working hard.”

Opening a jar of peanut butter became a milestone worth celebrating! Walking, despite a small foot drag, made Michael feel like he wasn’t disabled….just different. He calls his differences “souvenirs,” insisting that “life happens.”

HealthSource experts saw him through some dark times too. “I don’t remember much about the beginning of my stay, but my family says I was difficult and grumpy. Nights were hard for me. Yet the staff remained kind and compassionate because they knew it was the stroke talking. I will never forget Lori, my occupational therapist, starting my day by saying, ‘Okay mister, it’s time to get up!’ Her angelic voice made me know I had made it through another night with renewed motivation to face the new day!”

“Life happened” again a few years later when Michael tripped on the stairs in his garage and broke his hip. This time, he knew so well the caliber of the staff and facilities at HealthSource and went directly there for inpatient rehabilitation.

“It’s just such a pleasant atmosphere to be in when recovering,” he says. “The therapy area is open, warm, and bright. The attitude, dedication, and longevity of the therapists says a lot about the HealthSource team. Most have been there a long time. They all support each other. The teamwork is incredible.”

Michael considers it a blessing and privilege to be a HealthSource patient — both inpatient and outpatient. “They got me through my second speed bump, just like the first one,” he says. “When you go through therapy several times a week, these people become more than just therapists — they become your friends. You really get to know each other as people. You know about each other’s family stories.”

Rita, Katie, Mat, Julie, Lori C., Jodie C., Tiffany, Jenny, and others — these are the smart, kind, creative people he credits with his outstanding outcomes. He also praises Dr. Duffy, the medical director of the program. “Both times I was at HealthSource, he was available whenever I needed him, even in the middle of the night.”

The amazing HealthSource experience starts with the top executives and expands out to the therapists, nursing staff, and food service, Michael says. “HealthSource has the facility, the people, the tools to help us get better. And it’s right here in our own backyard. It doesn’t get much better than that.”