Rusty's Road to Recovery

Ruston Sweeting, our dear friend, family and loved one

On April 18, 2017, Rusty suffered a massive cerebral vascular stroke on the left side of his brain which disabled the motor functions on the right side of his body from head to toe. For those of you who don't know, the left side of your brain dominates your language motor skills as well as other motor skills.   

This week marks week eight in the hospital where he currently undergoes extensive physio, occupational therapy as well as speech and mirror therapy.  To date Rusty is still unable to speak, as this is one of the results of this type of stroke.  The term for this is called Aphasia.  Aphasia is when someone has trouble with the following: speaking, listening, reading, writing, dealing with numbers, understanding speech, and thinking of words when talking or writing.

Rusty is learning how to walk again with the help of physiotherapy and with the use of a cane, however, this process is very slow and Rusty has unfortunately taken a few falls but has been very fortunate to not have broken any bones.  He still however has not regained use in his right arm.  He is currently in a wheelchair and doing his transfers quite well from wheelchair to bed, washroom, chairs etc.  Another side effect of his stroke is loss of the lower portion of his sight in his right eye.  This causes imbalance issues at times, however, there is hope that this may improve and we are all holding on tight to the hope.

He is still under constant care at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital rehab unit.  Once he is released from the hospital, he will still be an outpatient and will return to the hospital three times a week for physiotherapy and speech therapy.  The outpatient therapy will continue for up to 4 to 6 weeks, three hours a day. 

Rusty has a release date of approximately July 5, 2017 where he will go into assisted living at Long Lake Chateau for at least three months.  We have decided on assisted living so he can focus on getting stronger and not have to worry about all of life's decisions. He will still require homecare once he is in assisted living until he can hopefully learn to be independent and hopefully function on his own. 

Long Lake Chateau is a wonderful place where they will provide him with all his meals, transportation and lifeline 24/7.  They also offer many activities and will provide a social network for Rusty to keep his brain active.  The only down fall to assisted living is the expense.  He has been approved for long term disability however there is a limit on how much our extended health provider will pay for these services and he may be eventually paying for them out of pocket. And although great, these services are not cheap. 

All of the hospital staff have been amazing to Rusty and have spent every last minute they can with him to help him get stronger and relearn how to walk and talk.  They say he is one of the younger patients and the success rate is much higher the younger you are for a complete rehabilitation.

A very big thank you to everyone who has stopped by to visit, sent cards, flowers and shared a smile or a story with Rusty.  It is important to know that although Rusty can’t have a conversation with you right now, he can hear you and can understand what you are telling him.  I always try and ask him yes or no type questions and then he can interact with you as best as possible.  

I am so happy and very impressed with his progress and determination.  He has stayed relatively positive through most of this however, the financial burden has been hard for him to process.   We know it cannot be easy for him, as it is also not easy for everyone to witness.

Rusty is an amazing friend, son, brother and uncle to so many and the most important message we want to give and show him is how much he is loved and cared for and that his family and friends will be with him every step of the way.  

Rusty is the kind of man who would give you the shirt off his back and is always there for the ones he loves and cares about.  I know for me personally he has been the best friend a person can ask for and uncle to my children.  He never misses my girls’ soccer games.  They love their Uncle Rusty with all their hearts.  It is our turn to show him how much we love him and relieve him of some of his financial burdens during this extremely hard time.

We have a long way to go and every little bit will help, no matter how small. Thanks in advance to everyone for their generosity, words of encouragement and help in sharing the posts and spreading the word.

Please help in any way that you can as no donation is too small.  Please spread the word to your family and friends.

With all my love to my best friend Rusty


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Elysha Gordon 
Nanaimo, BC