Andy Meloni Story
On April 1, 2003, retired sheriff Andrew (Andy) Meloni had a stroke. The stroke damaged his left side, leaving him with a dropped foot and a weak arm. After 30 days of intensive hospital rehabilitation, he was referred to Rochester Rehabilitation where he went to occupational and physical therapy. "The staff was friendly, efficient, and very caring," Andy said.
When Andy started therapy, he couldn't climb stairs without clinging to the handrail. Two years of rigorous muscle strengthening, repetition, and perseverance paid off: he was finally able to walk up and down stairs without difficulty. Although Andy wears a leg brace and has a slight limp, today he's unstoppable. He exercises regularly, gardens, and continues to have a busy social life. He also reaches out to other stroke survivors.
During his rehabilitation Andy felt alone, and at times he wanted to give up. In the end he persevered, but he knew how long and hard the road to recovery was. He wanted to tell other survivors that if they stick with their program, they will see positive results. "It is so important that caregivers and rehabilitation staff recognize the signs of depression," said Andy, "because it can negatively affect a person's outcome."
More than two years ago, Andy met with counselors and other stroke survivors. Together, they formed a group focused on motivation and coping techniques for stroke survivors. "Family support is important," said Andy, "but equally important is support from other survivors. People who are recovering from a stroke need hope."
And that is one of the major goals of the Stroke Support Group. Now in its third year, the program reaches out to patients in hospitals, caregivers and survivors. About 20 to 30 people regularly attend the group's sessions. To learn more about the Stroke Support Group, please call Julie Cataldo, LMSW Stroke Support Group Facilitator at 585.271.1894 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.