Maine Center for Integrative Rehabilitation (MCIR: Speakers Scott Mayo, Clinical Director, and Waterville Rotarian Glenn Leavitt.

Maine Center for Integrative Rehabilitation (MCIR)

Speakers Scott Mayo, Clinical Director, and Waterville Rotarian Glenn Leavitt

Scott Mayo began the program describing MCIR as an unique organization that specializes in providing rehabilitation services to people suffering from brain injuries. The most common is 'traumatic brain injury' experienced by about 2% of population. The Federal government spends less than $3 per brain injury survivor each year on research. It is a silent epidemic. 75% of brain injuries are mild, frequently referred to as concussions, for which the recovery may take up to six months. Second similar injuries occurring before the first is resolved can result in death. Many of these injuries occur in young folks playing sports.

Since the early 1980s folks with brain injuries survive longer than previously. With rehabilitation services recovery can continue for many years. It is important for the general public to understand brain injuries so that supportive services continue to receive government funding. In Maine each year about 4,500 people suffer from brain injuries and another 4,500 have strokes.

Glenn Leavitt suffered ischemic stroke in 2007 and receives services from MCIR. He is a survivor and a great fighter and will talk about how he is confronting his situation. After walking to the podium, Glenn thanked the audience for asking him to speak and hoped to do a good job representing MCIR.

Glenn is a life-long resident of Waterville. He has been married for 33 years and is father to three grown children. He feels that his 'A type' personality contributes to his making a lot of progress in rehabilitation. Before working for Clear Channel radio, he was a wine seller. He is very active in civic affairs - 2 year member of Rotary and leader of the ELKS Club -- president 2002-2003 and on the way to becoming District Deputy when he had his stroke. He is also active in Waterville Main Street, REM, and PAL Waterville football. His hobby is playing golf which he expects to play this coming summer. He was always raising money for people less fortunate.

When he started to notice that things were not feeling right on his right side, he went to the hospital and was admitted, had a lot of tests, and in a few days started to feel worse, experiencing blurry vision and was transferred to EMMC where he suffered a massive stroke (blood clot in the brain). Then he spent two months receiving occupational and physical therapy at Seton Hospital. When he went home, he had home therapy. With the encouragement of his doctor, Glenn decided to go to MCIR because he was impressed with the equipment there.

When Glenn started at MCIR, he could walk only 50 feet. Now he is walking 1240 feet with couple of breaks. He could walk up and down 3 stairs; now he can walk the 14 stairs to the downstairs of his house.

Other programs at MCIR in which Glenn participates are:

· Stroke prevention

· Take medicines, work on weight loss and improve nutrition by selecting better foods

· Access to doctor - 2 hours per week, great benefit

· Aquatics at the Alfond Youth Center - started walking a couple of steps now can make10 trips across pool

· Retraining the brain - muscles are ok, it's the brain that is damaged (nerve circuits are damaged -- purpose of rehabilitation is to perform activities that lead to reconnecting and rebuilding circuits)

· Train to get around in grocery stores - could handle everything except top shelf

· Learning to function in a variety of places -- Maine State Museum, library, and quite a few other places

· Adaptive sports -bowling, golf (working with Wii to improve balance)

· Recreational therapy - couldn't hold cards - no circulation on left side, had to use card holder, now can hold cards

· Lots of machines to use - weight machines, tread mills, ways to improve arms; balance,100% better - Glenn can stand for ½ hour without falling over.

Although the first year is the most important year in recovery; recovery continues beyond that time. With extended therapy a lot of improvement can happen after that time.

Questions & Answers

How are your finances working out? Disability income from SSI, fundraiser with Elks and place he worked . disability insurance doesn't pay when you get SSI

Can you read? Yes, and retention of information is fine, could use a computer, but did a lot of that in previous job. Speech and language therapy are available

Did family need special training? No, family is great support and didn't need any special training - feel like I'm starting over learning everything

What funding does MCIR receive? - MaineCare is 70%, Insurance, and a sliding fee schedule

MaineCare - has to be documented and to become eligible, clients need goals to improve

Can people go back to work? Getting back to work, driving, loving relationship are most people's major goals; but sometimes social behaviors aren't appropriate.

You got to the hospital but could your stroke have been prevented? Fine line as what can be done; best to act early to get drug to break the clot. Most people wait much too long before seeking medical attention -- about 22 - 24 hours.

Are stroke symptoms similar for men and women? Yes. Some of the symptoms are blurred vision, weakness and/or numbness on either side, severe headaches. Sometimes severe strokes are preceded by transient ischemic attacks (TIA) when some blockage is starting to happen.

Is MCIR serving Veterans returning from war? - VA is taking care of veterans and seems to be able to do this in Maine; however, in bigger populations VA may not be able to keep up with the needs.