Client Spotlight: Lonnie Watson’s Recovery from Stroke

By Megan Lashley, Neurorecovery Exercise Specialist

On October 23rd, 2020 Lonnie Watson (L.W.) noticed a strange pain running down his leg.  He thought nothing of it and continued about his day.  The next morning he began favoring his right side.  After making a call to his doctor, L.W. was sent to the Emergency Room.  Luckily, Community Hospital was nearby.

He had suffered a stroke, and was admitted to Community North in Indianapolis to begin inpatient rehabilitation.   As he started the lengthy process of rehab, the severity of his condition became clear.  He no longer had the ability to stand up, or keep his balance on his own.  He didn’t have control over his right arm, and he couldn’t coordinate any volitional movement.

“I was told that the first five months after a stroke were the most crucial for recovery, and that was my determination,” says L.W.

L.W. set goals to improve leg strength and balance.  He was determined to re-learn how to reach and grasp objects, and he worked tirelessly with his therapists every day.  Over the next few weeks in the hospital, he quickly progressed from being reliant on a Hoyer Lift to leave his bed, to the use of a boardslide.  Then came steps with a hemi-walker, a rolling walker, and finally a single point cane.  He was mobile again and celebrating, but his journey was far from complete.

When he left the hospital, L.W. continued in-home therapy for several months until he hit a recovery wall.   He needed to find place where he could continue his progress, and he needed team that understood his condition.  Recovery revolves around hard work and determination and L.W. was determined to find structure and steady encouragement to continue his journey.

In April of 2021, L.W. was introduced to NeuroHope and has been part of the NeuroHope community ever since!  Over the last year, L.W. has been a dedicated member of  NeuroHope’s “Path to Independence” Wellness program, a monthly membership separate from therapy that features specialized fitness plans, open gym access, and group cardio and strengthening classes.  L.W. arrives each day with enthusiasm in his soul and progress on his mind.  As he continues to work towards his functional goals, L.W. recently exceeded a tremendous  personal goal: A 100 pound weight lost since his stroke! And he isn’t finished yet!

You will find L.W.’s customized T-shirt hanging in the NeuroHope gym.  It has a logo of the mind and heart intertwined.

“All you need is a determined mind and a willing heart,” L.W. reminds us. “As long as you have those two things, you can do it.”

L.W. is happily retired and married to the love of his life Lolita, of 40 years. He has two children (L.W. Jr. and LaTrice) and eight grandchildren.  He is an inspiration to us all.

Keep up the great work, L.W.!