On a sparkling winter day in the Berkshire Mountains, Steve Cronin came home early from work to take the family dog on a snow-shoe hike on the nearby Appalachian trail. At 59, Steve was in terrific shape—he was an avid skier and golfer, and even had run the Boston Marathon three times.
But suddenly he didn’t feel well, so he laid right down on the kitchen floor and waited for his wife, Sharon, to come home. Sharon immediately dialed 911, and after emergency evaluations at his local and regional hospitals, Steve was airlifted to Boston. It turns out, Steve had a massive brain bleed that had a drastic impact.
Paralyzed on his left side, with no control of his head or neck, Steve was unable to breathe or swallow. A tube was inserted into his neck for airflow and he was given a feeding tube, then he was transferred to Spaulding. Dr. Nicole Mazwi oversaw Steve’s care as he moved to Spaulding Cambridge—where he received critical medical care and started his journey into rehabilitation—and then to Spaulding Boston for intensive therapies.
At their first meeting, Dr. Mazwi told Sharon that she expected to see her husband progress very well, but that Steve’s recovery would take place in stages over a long period of time.
As Sharon recalls with gratitude:
“We hung on to Dr. Mazwi’s every word. Spaulding is where we landed during a deeply difficult and unexpected time in our lives—and, much to our surprise, we were surrounded by hope.”
Looking back today on his journey of recovery, Steve describes how Spaulding’s upbeat, “can-do” atmosphere helped him to start feeling like himself again:
“At first, I was afraid to talk. But the therapists were so positive all the time, that I started to believe I could do the things they asked of me.”
Steve’s daughter Caitlin recalls how much he loved going to work out on Spaulding’s robotic machines as an inpatient and eventually as an outpatient. “He would say, hey, I did 200 steps in physical therapy today! And then a couple of weeks later, I did 500 steps today!”
Sharon immediately took on the task of learning from Steve’s therapists how to practice all his exercises with him. This required the petite but mighty 5’1” elementary school teacher to hold up her 5’10” husband. Spaulding’s therapists explain that teaching Sharon to help Steve was another important part of their job, because it would enable the couple to eventually return to their independent and active lives.
Sharon summarizes her family’s many Spaulding experiences this way:
“I want everyone to know that Spaulding is a place for people who have gone through the unexpected—and no matter what condition they arrive in, Spaulding’s amazing staff just start working and they never give up. I can’t imagine our lives today without Spaulding.”