Frank is a proud husband, father, and grandfather. At 68 years old, he has also had a colourful career in film. Starting out as an actor in his 30s, Frank soon grew to become the Head Production Manager at Film Australia, where he was known to make up to thirty films all at once. Not only was he a senior film producer, he was also an award-winning one at that.
It was in August 2018 that Frank experienced a stroke which put his busy career on hold as he faced sudden functional and neurological challenges. “I had a medical appointment, but I never actually made it there. They rang my wife who checked on me and discovered I had fallen next to my bed, and was not in a good state. An ambulance took me to St. Vincent’s Hospital where I stayed for three to four months before moving into an residential aged care facility.’’
“Having a stroke is sudden and you experience a shocking loss. Everything I knew was stripped away. I could not do simple things anymore. Coordination and dexterity were my big losses,” said Frank. “‘’MetroRehab was highly recommended for neurological rehab and therapy. It was there I started to notice improvements and I have not looked back,” he added.
The rehabilitation programs at MetroRehab are individually tailored to achieve client’s goals. For Frank, these are to build core strength, improve mobility, manage pain, and achieve greater independence with daily tasks.
“MetroRehab has helped me a great deal with my situation by setting goals. With their skills and confidence, I am now able to get about in my wheelchair independently without assistance. I am very happy with the progression,” said Frank.
From repetitive exercises like practicing to stand up and sit down, Frank worked with a variety of allied health clinicians such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists under the care of a rehabilitation specialist to help aid his independence. Despite this, Frank’s biggest appreciation was in the understanding of it all.
“There is a quality of care and quality of education that the MetroRehab staff provide, in terms of understanding your situation and moving through the process to get to you to a new way of living. I have gained knowledge about how to use my body and mind, and an understanding of what is happening to me. The focus at MetroRehab is not just about doing the activity, but doing it and understanding why,” said Frank.
The biggest take-out that Frank had learnt during his time at rehab was the power of rewiring the brain. “I have learnt that via physical discipline, you can rewire the brain. Through a combination of repetition and specific actions, gradually the brain learns to do things that it instinctively did before,” said Frank.
At present, Frank is now back at MetroRehab as an inpatient to dedicate himself to his progress. Frank has since advanced from being transferred by two people on a hoist machine to now being able to mobilise with the assistance of only one person.
“It’s a very supportive environment at MetroRehab. I am in awe of the allied health staff and what they do – they are all patient and skilled. The benefits were concrete and immediate, and most importantly, could assimilate into my day to day life. My family have also learnt skills in their time spent with me during rehab, like tips on how to help me learn to walk again and how to use a computer,” said Frank.
Frank looks forward to spending more time with the MetroRehab team and participating in social events that promote stroke awareness. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, MetroRehab’s annual Stroke Wellness Walk has transformed into a virtual event titled the Move with Metro Stroke Challenge. When asked about the event, Frank expresses a keen interest to participate.
“I am looking forward to this year’s Move with Metro Stroke Challenge. I always wear my pink MetroRehab hat to every single therapy session and am happy and proud to wear it. I have affection for MetroRehab and the people that work here and look forward to participating in this year’s event. My wife will also join in too. I’m not sure what is planned – no bungy jumping please!”
Frank is also looking forward to regaining his ability to travel independently, to be able to drive and spend time with family with less assistance. “I am lucky I have a supportive family. I will turn to MetroRehab for as long as I can. I enjoy the people and enjoy coming here. MetroRehab and I will be allies for years to come.’’
Frank has some advice for future MetroRehab clients requiring rehabilitation. “Once life changes, it doesn’t go back. You cannot sit and daydream. You have to find and define new ways to be yourself. Embrace the program, learn how to step over the little frustrations and don’t let anything stop you.”
For more information on MetroRehab’s Sydney Stroke Rehabilitation Centre, please contact us on (02) 8585 4900 or alternatively, click the link here for more information: https://www.metrorehab.com.au/patient-services-at-metro-rehab/patient-programs/sydney-stroke-rehabilitation-centre/