Ken Sinclair, a flight attendant instructor for Mesa Airlines, sustained a stroke. Not only was he paralyzed on his right side, but he had also lost the ability to speak. He went through an 11-month course of rehabilitation with Rehab Without Walls, and with the team’s help and support of his wife, Mae Levine Sinclair, he was able to create what’s known as the “new normal.” “Ken was a very high achiever and was into everything. He had his own radio show, he made his own shirts, he loved traveling, jazz, cooking and writing,” says Mae. “There was a point where we wondered if he’d ever be able to return to the things he loved and create a new life that in some way resembled the one he had before the stroke.”
As everyone who goes through Rehab Without Walls home and community rehabilitation learns, patients may not be able to have the exact same life as they had before, but they still can have a quality of life that encompasses their interests and involves maximum functionality and independence. Ken was no exception.
Within a year, he was able to speak, walk, drive and return to work. Although he was unable to go back to his previous highly demanding job, his employer created a position for him better suited to his skills. He now works four hours a day, five days a week filling in on office work and performing odd jobs around the airplane hanger. Ken also has become the “soup guy,” his wife explains, exercising his cooking skills to feed his coworkers. In fact, says Mae, “Ken’s supervisor tells me that Ken is an inspiration to them everyday.
Ken’s hobbies continue to be eclectic and far-reaching. He has become computer savvy, and spends much of his free time researching history and staying in touch with wide-ranging friends via the internet. Sewing has been difficult because he only has limited use of his right hand but he’s been investigating getting a student to help him with his projects. There are the occasional bad periods where depression hits, says Mae, but “the Rehab Without Walls team helped me understand that this was a part of his life now and I have learned to accept it.”
Overall, she adds, the rehabilitation team was “phenomenal.” In particular, she admired how they set functional goals and helped Ken work toward them systematically. “They were clearly focused on the direction in which he needed to go. I watched them continue to try different ideas and techniques in order to achieve the goals. I credit their hard work and inspiration for where Ken is today.”