Matt Rorabaugh taught his children that being on time was arriving too late. His rule of thumb: Be there 10 minutes early. So, when Matt was late for a May 29 meeting on a business trip in Iowa City, Iowa, his co-workers knew something was wrong.
“All I remember is waking up on the floor of the shower” in his hotel room, Matt said. “The tub was filling up with water. It was halfway up my face.”
He tried to get up, but the left side of his body wasn’t responding. He fell again, hitting his head on the side of the tub.
He could hear his phone ringing.
Unable to reach Matt, his co-workers called the hotel, and employees broke into his room.
Matt, 48, had experienced a stroke. He was transported by ambulance to University of Iowa Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. A week later, Matt was stable enough to begin intensive rehabilitation and came to Mary Free Bed.
“I came in on a stretcher,” Matt said. “It will be the proudest day of my life when I walk out of here.”
Matt, his family and his team of therapists adopted a “whatever it takes” approach to his rehabilitation.
“Matt’s ‘whatever it takes’ mantra helped personally motivate him, and it became something I could use in his therapy as well,” said occupational therapist Jason Bomia.
Matt said his Mary Free Bed team encouraged him to “rebuild me.”
“We worked with him day in and day out,” said Brooke McNamara, a speech-language pathologist. “I knew he really cared about us, and we really cared about him.”
When Matt graduated July 30 from the Stroke Program, he realized his goal to walk out the doors of Mary Free Bed. He’s continuing his recovery with outpatient therapy near his Morley home.
Learn more about Matt’s journey in this video: