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Wayne Elliott initially blamed his Monday-morning clumsiness on the herbicide he’d used to spray thistles over the weekend. He’d gone to work but just felt bad — he was uncoordinated and couldn’t write, and going outside for fresh air didn’t help.

“I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know exactly what,” Elliott said.

When his co-workers in the warehouse at Kenny’s Candy in Perham asked him if he was OK, he said he might be feeling the effects of the herbicide he’d used … or perhaps he was having a stroke. With that, his colleagues brought him to the hospital in Perham, where his condition continued to deteriorate from what was indeed a stroke.

By the end of the day, his right hand and arm were paralyzed, he could no longer walk and his speech was slurred. Elliott, who was 57 at the time, said “I’ve never been as scared as that in my life.”

His condition stabilized by Tuesday, but he saw no improvement during the following days. “I hadn’t improved at all from Monday to Friday,” Elliott said. “I was pretty far gone. I couldn’t walk, it felt like I was slurring my speech a lot, and my right arm was paralyzed.”

On Friday, he was admitted to the Center for Rehabilitation at LRH, and he began physical, occupational and speech therapy Saturday. He was in the Center for Rehab for 2 1/2 weeks and received intensive therapy for 1 1/2 hours in both the morning and the afternoon.

“I was quite tired when they got done, but it was well worth it,” Elliott said. “They made sure I was in good shape.”

He was walking with a cane by the time he went home, and use of his arm was starting to return. Following his discharge, his wife, Stacy, brought him to therapy in Perham twice a week for six weeks.

Just two months after suffering a stroke, he was able to return to work half-days.  In less than two more months he had resumed his full-time schedule. His only lingering problems are with fine motor control, which makes writing difficult, and some coordination problems with using a computer.

“I could never have done it without the people at the Center for Rehab,” Elliott added. “I’d never have got back to this point again.
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