Sean's Story

Sean wearing a black and red t-shirt, smiling in his hospital room.

Sean Hobgood, 50, lives in Slidell, LA, with his mother, Linda and works as a produce re-supplier at Walmart. His hobbies include watching and attending football games, cooking, entertaining friends and family and simply enjoying life.

In January, Sean had a fall at home and suffered a stroke. He was taken to Ochsner Medical Center – Northshore, where he was also diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, subdural hematoma (collection of blood between the brain and the skull) and seizure activity. As a result of his injury, Sean underwent surgery to remove a piece of his skull and drain the blood. He then transferred to Ochsner Main Campus in New Orleans for further neurosurgical intervention.

Following his injury and acute care hospitalization, Sean faced significant challenges such as the inability to walk, think, remember and speak, among other difficulties such as generalized muscle weakness. After two and a half weeks in the hospital, Sean was stable enough to transfer to Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital, where he would continue to recover and tackle his setbacks head on.

The first step in Sean’s rehabilitation was to set realistic, achievable goals for himself. These goals included being able to walk, improving balance and independence with self-care tasks, and speech and memory improvement. Physical, occupational and speech therapy all contributed to Sean’s progress toward meeting these goals.

Physical therapy included walking while gradually increasing distance, climbing up and down stairs, and safely turning. Sessions also included exercises to regain balance and electrical stimulation to help address Sean’s foot drop (difficulty lifting the front part of the foot).

Occupational therapy sessions focused on learning better safety practices, increased independence in self-care tasks and recreational activities such as bowling to improve the function in his larger muscles. Sean also participated in activities to improve the use of his hands, wrists and fingers by using therapy putty, peg placement and card games. Sean said the group sessions surprised him, not only regarding the benefits of the therapy but also from a social interaction perspective. “I wasn’t a fan of the occupational therapy group sessions at first, but it ended up being a lot of fun!”

Sean also benefitted from speech therapy. “My speech is a thousand times better,” said Sean. “I’m using bigger words now than I had been using pre-stroke.” Activities included reading magazine articles, writing a few paragraphs about what he had read and discussing the topic and what he wrote with his speech therapist.

Sean fondly remembers reaching his first milestone in recovery: “When I started walking, that was a big thing. For occupational therapy, it was when I was able to start using my hands as my fine motor skills began improving.”

In addition to his therapy team, Sean’s family was very supportive during his recovery. Once COVID-19 visitation restrictions lifted, his mother was able to visit him, and his sister was helpful in keeping him connected with friends and other family members.

Sean made significant progress toward achieving his goals while at Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital. After one month, he was ready to go home. His safety awareness and confidence had greatly improved, and he was walking 210 feet using only a rolling walker. He also received a special brace to help with his foot drop. Upon returning home, Sean was most looking forward to sleeping in his own bed and having some time to himself.

To anyone going through a similar experience, Sean advises, “Get people around you to help; don’t think you can take everything on by yourself.”