Earlier this year, Mike Tingue, 60, suffered a stroke at his State College home. Alone and unable to walk, Tingue managed to crawl out of his front door and onto his porch. A neighbor who was outside heard Tingue call out for help and immediately contacted emergency responders.
Tingue spent the next four days at Mount Nittany Medical Center. When he was ready to be discharged, he needed stroke rehabilitation. Tingue’s doctor referred him to HealthSouth Nittany Valley Rehabilitation Hospital in Pleasant Gap.
“When Mike came to HealthSouth, he was not able to walk on his own,” says Occupational Therapist Christy Vuchenich. “He lost some function of his right side, including his right leg, arm and hand. He also had some difficulty with his speech and right side vision,” she says.
Tingue spent four weeks at HealthSouth, getting inpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy for three hours a day, five days a week. “I’m really fortunate,” Tingue says. “It could have been worse, and I’m grateful that after my stay at HealthSouth, I was able to return home.”
When Tingue was discharged to his home, his rehabilitation continued three days a week at HealthSouth’s onsite outpatient clinic. “When Mike started outpatient therapy, he was still using a wheelchair,” says Vuchenich. “Now he’s walking on his own.”
Tingue also “graduated” from outpatient physical and speech therapy, and continues occupational therapy with Vuchenich, who believes that his upbeat attitude has been an important component in his recovery. “Mike is extremely motivated and always positive,” she says. “He does everything that we ask him to do in therapy, and never misses an appointment.”
“I can’t change the fact that I had a stroke. I can either work with what I have, or sit around and lament about what has happened to me,” Tingue says. “It’s not in my nature to lament, so I’m working hard. HealthSouth is a worthy partner as I move forward in my recovery.”
As Tingue’s rehabilitation move forwards, so do his plans to get back to living. He’s having his car adapted so that he can return to driving. As a lifelong golfer, he’s anxious to get back into the game; he starts a new job this spring as a ranger and a starter on a local golf course.
“My full-time job right now is rehabilitation,” Tingue explains. “I expect to have 100 percent recovery. It may take six months, or a year, but that’s my goal.”
“Stroke rehabilitation can be a lifetime relationship,” says Vuchenich. “We see individuals come back to HealthSouth multiple times after their initial rehabilitation. Patients make strides in therapy, and then after they are home for a while, they come back to make more gains and improvements. It’s important for people to know that there is hope for improvement any time after a stroke.”
Tingue has been invited to share his experiences as a stroke survivor at the Centre County Heart Walk on Sept. 23, 2017. He says, “I hope that by sharing my story, I can help someone else feel hopeful that they can overcome a stroke and enjoy life again.”
The Centre County Heart Walk is a primary community awareness initiative for HealthSouth Nittany Valley. With both stroke and heart failure rehabilitation programs, HealthSouth works throughout the year to increase awareness and prevention of heart disease.
HealthSouth Nittany Valley’s stroke rehabilitation program has earned a Disease-Specific Care Certification from the Joint Commission. HealthSouth provides a higher dose of therapy (at least three hours a day, five days a week), state-of-the-art technology, on-site physicians and certified rehabilitation registered nurses. For more information about stroke rehabilitation at HealthSouth, visit www.NittanyValleyRehab.com.
Inpatient Rehabilitation: (814) 359-3421
Outpatient Rehabilitation: (814) 359-5630
Stroke Support Groups: (814) 359-3421
Mike Tingue’s stroke rehabilitation includes occupational therapy with Christy Vuchenich, MOT, OTR/L, who uses the Bioness NESS H200® technology. This technology electrically stimulates thumb and finger movements to improve hand function and provide neuromuscular re-education.
Occupational Therapist Christy Vuchenich, MOT, OTR/L, guides Mike Tingue’s stroke rehabilitation at HealthSouth’s Pleasant Gap outpatient clinic. Tingue is working on hand and arm flexion and extension exercises to increase his grasp and improve the function of his fingers, hand and arm.