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Cedric the Survivor

Reprinted from the Kitchener Post.  View the article on the Kitchener Post website.Alt=""

By: Laurie Snell


It was a typical April morning for Kitchener resident Cedric Thorne — he woke up, made his usual call to a friend, and when he finished, tried to hang up the phone.

But when he couldn't put the phone on the receiver, he realized something was wrong.

"The phone just fell from his hand — I heard it from the bedroom," his wife, Esmie Thorne said, adding, when he tried to make his way back to bed, his movement sounded different.

"I heard a kind of shuffle, not a normal walk, and I ran out of the bedroom to the top of the stairs."

She remembered his arm being slightly limp and he couldn't hold a cup of tea.

That's when Esmie realized her husband, then 71, had suffered a stroke. "Nothing was working," she said, so she called an ambulance.

"It was, at first, a slight stroke. There was no twist of the mouth, his speech was good, just his hand was a little limp," Esmie said. "We reached the hospital ... (and) that's where I think the stroke really came. He started to get disoriented and his speech started going."

Cedric spent the next almost six months in hospital recovering. He was unconscious most of the time.

That was back in April 2014. Since then, Cedric has significantly improved with the help of the Waterloo-Wellington Community Care Access Centre's intensive stroke rehabilitation program.

When he was discharged he was stable, but unable to walk, communicate or eat on his own. The rehabilitation program hoped to change that and increase his independence.

"It was like Grand Central Station in here," Esmie said with a laugh.

That's because they were assigned a CCAC stroke care coordinator, who arranged in-home visits from specialists in a range of fields — speech pathology, dieticians, physiotherapists, nurses and more. The team worked closely with Cedric to enhance his quality of life.

Martina Rozsa, senior director of patient services for the CCAC, said the last leg of treatment with a multi-disciplinary team, which takes about 12 weeks in‑home, is essential. It allows the CCAC team to work with the patient as they navigate their daily routines and become more independent.

"It's intense in the beginning, and then it sort of tapers off as somebody starts to regain their independence and their functional abilities."

Rozsa added, Cedric is a true testament to the program, which has only been running for about a year in five hospitals across the region. Especially since at first, doctors did not believe Cedric would ever leave the hospital. Now he's at home, avoided long‑term care and goes out with his wife for daily tasks.

"That's a huge win for him and a huge success for him and his family," Rozsa said.

"Sometimes you just don't know the gains someone is going to make, but it's about giving them the opportunity.

"Everybody should have the opportunity to rehabilitate — that's what this program does. Not only in the facility but back home in their environment."

Esmie said while it's nice to go out with her husband to run errands, it's Sundays the couple looks forward to most.

"He loves going to church, so we go every Sunday to Holy Trinity."

Esmie said she's grateful everyday for the care the CCAC provided in making mobility and communication possible.

"Life is completely changed for the both of us," Esmie said.