Longtime Cleveland, Tennessee, mayor Tom Rowland found himself losing the will to live after a series of health setbacks this winter, but now he is back home with his wife and ready to engage in life, and the community, again.
“Over the Christmas holidays, I had five surgeries in a four-week period,” Tom shared.
Doctors removed a cancerous tumor in his colon and eventually had to remove his colon as well.
Tom was very weak and lost his appetite to the point he had a feeding tube to provide the nutrition he needed. He had lost 40 pounds, could barely speak above a whisper and was considering hospice when he came to Life Care Center of Cleveland on Jan. 19.
“I didn’t think I’d ever walk again,” Tom shared. “I didn’t think I’d live. I just gave up. I asked the Lord to take me.”
Tom’s care team at Life Care gathered around his bed and pleaded with him not to give up, sharing that they had helped other patients just as badly off regain strength and function and a good quality of life.
“The people in therapy cheered me on and encouraged me and made me want to live again,” Tom said.
Kelly Newbould, physical therapist assistant, shared, “Once he could be convinced that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, nothing could stop him.”
Tom worked hard in therapy, with his wife of 53 years, Sandra, almost constantly by his side. She learned right along with him, and the therapists taught her how to care for him at home.
Through physical and occupational therapy, Tom regained strength in his legs, core, arms and hands. He has improved his mobility and can do more self-care tasks with less assistance. His appetite has returned. When he went home on Feb. 18, he was able to walk up to 400 feet with a walker and shower on his own. He will continue his progress with home health PT and OT.
“It’s a tremendous blessing,” Tom said. “Being in my own recliner means everything. I am going to do everything at home I can do here [at Life Care]. I really want to thank the East Wing staff and CNAs, as well as my therapists. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it hadn’t been for them.”
Sandra added, “We’ve watched Life Care grow since day one, and we’re so pleased that Life Care’s here to serve people when they need help. They don’t give up on you.”