Read this story of perseverance and recovery.
Marceline’s Jerry Kelly just keeps bouncing back from whatever life throws at him. Last year, Kelly suffered a brain hemorrhage, and needed some help from his family and friends. Luckily for Jerry, and wife Tina, they have a lot of friends.
The Marceline community rallied around their former mail carrier and the Marceline R-5 School Nurse, respectively, with fundraisers to help the family during their time of struggle. For Jerry, recovery, sadly, is nothing new. He has battled leukemia, and several other health issues, only to rise like the proverbial phoenix repeatedly.
“He spent about 10 days on a ventilator in ICU at Boone Hospital in Columbia,” said Tina of Jerry’s December 7, 2016 accident. “He spent a total of 18 days in ICU altogether. In that time, he had two strokes from the blood on the brain; a right-frontal, and a left-back stroke. The right-frontal stroke affected his entire left side. The back-side stroke affected his right field of vision. He has half of his vision in his right eye as a result of these strokes.”
She continued: “Because of the stroke of the left side, it somewhat affects his left field of vision. His brain has had to relearn that he can see. When he came out of ICU, he couldn't hold his head up. He had to learn to walk again, to stand again. He spent a month in rehab at Boone Hospital, working on strength and balance. When he got to Life Care, he walked for the first time with his walker.”
Jerry, blessedly, has no memory of the first month after the stroke. He has been told some things about that time, but has no memory himself.
“For the first month, I have no memory,” said Jerry. “I have had some memories shared with me, but I really don't remember it. It felt really good to be able to stand up on my own again. I remember walking across the room for the first time.”
Tina noted that her husband needed help with everything when he began his rehabilitation journey at Life Care in Brookfield. Jerry complimented the staff at the facility, and said that it wasn’t too bad being in a nursing home for a little while.
“The therapy here has been great, the girls are excellent,” said Jerry. “They have taught me how to walk again, to talk again, pretty much everything. They even taught me how to feed myself again. I learned how to tie my shoes here for the third time, this was the easiest time I had learning that.”
Sadly, his journey to recovery began after treatment for Leukemia Jerry was diagnosed with that disease in 1994, and in 1995 noted some numbness in his feet. This caused him to leave his job as a postal carrier, and to start using a walker to get around.
“It progressed from there, into numbness in various parts of his body,” said Tina. “In the early 2000's he started having what they thought were mini-strokes. The Mayo Clinic diagnosed him with that condition, which was likely related to his leukemia treatment. At that time, he went on blood thinners.”
She continued: “Now, he's on a different regimen of medications, which have reduced the number of mini-stroke episodes that he has had. They have thought it may also be some kind of unusual seizure pattern, but they can't seem to catch that on the scans.”
Jerry is thankful for the support of his friends, family, and community.
“I would say that for my family, with the help of my family and friends is how I keep going,” he began. “The people of Marceline are great, and my faith is the biggest reason I keep doing this. The support of everyone has been great in the community. Marceline is a great place to get sick.”
Jerry continued: “Thank you doesn't even touch what I want to say, but it will have to work. Going into a rest home isn't that bad, I've had a lot of fun. This has been the hardest recovery, not being able to read. I used to be able to study my Bible every day, and not being able to do that is tough.”
Tina added her own appreciation to the community that they love.
“There are no words that we can say to show our appreciation,” she concluded. “I have had to miss work for his cancer, and after this accident, and everyone stepped up to help us. Someone stayed with him every night here at Life Care, and that means a lot. The older ladies here had a going away party for him, he meant that much to them. He does everything with a smile. But this has been harder on him than anything, it's been more of a challenge.”