Stroke patient develops the drive to drive again
After a stroke in 2010, Habeeb Elimimian, affectionately known by HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Tallahassee staff as “Mr. B,” lost most of the function in the left side of his body. He was 43 years old at the time of his stroke and it causes him to face many challenges – including losing the ability to independently drive a vehicle.
Mr. B came to HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Tallahassee as an outpatient which helped him continue getting better through its skilled therapy program. He went from navigating himself in a power wheelchair to a manual wheelchair then to a hemi-walker during this time.
After completing outpatient therapy, Mr. B didn’t want to stop there. He wanted to keep regaining strength, so he became a member of the hospital’s Wellness Program. The hospital Wellness Program allows individuals in the community to use the gym equipment for a small fee each month. Participants, most being former patients, must first be able to establish independence or have someone present at all times to assist them in the gym.
During his time as a Wellness Program member, he built many relationships, not only with staff, but with other Wellness Program members that he motivated to get stronger. Mr. B, who commuted to the hospital using public transportation, spent most of his time on the parallel bars to gain more control of his gait. And he did. On Feb. 4, 2015, he came back for his standard Wellness Program visit, but this time he drove himself there in his own car! Mr. B went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to take the driver’s test and passed it. His determination finally paid off.
To revel in Mr. B’s inspiring success, staff held a celebration on Feb. 11. They also collected donated gift cards to restaurants and the movie theatre to encourage his integration back into the community.
"It has truly been inspiring to watch Mr. B progress throughout the years,” said Allison Eagen, PT, a physical therapist who has been directly involved with Mr. B and his care. “He has never given up on his goals and has worked so hard to develop the specific skills he needed to achieve these recent goals. I look forward to witnessing his next accomplishment!"