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Matt Vusich, RehabCentre Patient

Matt Vusich - Perrinton, MI

"They cared about me and I knew that they cared. They stuck with me, treated me well and did a great job."

Loving Hands, Caring Hearts and a Personal Therapy Plan Helped Rebuild a Life

Last July, then 50-year-old Matt Vusich was in the office of his plumbing and heating business. "I was at my desk when it happened," he said. "I was writing notes and suddenly just couldn't write anymore. I didn't want to believe it, but I knew what was happening."

He called out to a couple of co-workers and told them he thought he was having a stroke. They rushed Matt to MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot. "I remember being with them at the hospital," he said. "At first, I could talk. But soon, the feeling in my leg and arm was gone and then my voice was gone, too."

Matt was transferred to another hospital, where he was treated for a week. "Then I came back to the RehabCentre in Alma," he said. "It was a crazy three weeks."

The stroke damaged his speech center and the right side of his body. "At first, I didn't know what was going on and it was frightening. My life had been turned upside down," he said. "But they know what they're doing and they do it well."

The first order of business was to improve movement. Daily occupational therapy sessions increased his motor skills and twice each day, physical therapists worked with him to rebuild strength and improve balance. "It took some doing, but they got me walking in the hallway," he said. "I ended up with a one-handed cane and I'm walking fine now."

While at the RehabCentre, he was particularly concerned about his arm. "I know they were worried that it was too damaged and that I was not going to regain use of my arm," he said. "The staff continued to work with me and now I can use it. For me, that was pretty much a miracle."

"The RehabCentre was great," said Deborah, Matt's wife. "We were very, very pleased with the treatment. The occupational therapy in particular was wonderful. The staff helped me, too. They gave me advice that allowed me to take a deep breath and remind myself that I could handle this because God never gives us more than we can handle."

Matt and Deborah are people of deep faith, which is the source of their strength. "We have been very blessed," Deborah said. "Matt walked out of there after three weeks. We went home with a wheelchair but only used it twice."

Months after his work at the RehabCentre, and more work at a specialized facility in Grand Rapids, Matt is back at his shop three days a week. "I can do small jobs slowly," he said. "Two days a week I have therapy at home. I still have a ways to go; right now I'm at about 70 percent. But I can walk just fine, use my hands and hopefully, I will continue to get better."

"The staff at the RehabCentre takes it very seriously," Deborah said. "They designed an individual therapy program for Matt and they were extremely encouraging. I can't say enough good things about them."

"What I remember most are the loving hands," Matt said. "They cared about me and I knew that they cared. They stuck with me, treated me well and did a great job."

The RehabCentre at MidMichigan Medical Center Gratiot is a hospital-based unit specializing in intensive physical, occupational, recreational and speech therapy. Patients receive a minimum of three hours of therapy each day, along with 24-hour nursing and physician care. Those who would like more information on the RehabCentre may visit

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