A trip to the beach with loved ones turned into a life-changing event for David Harris. In the summer of 2005, David was slammed to the ocean floor by a wave. He stopped breathing and had no heartbeat when strangers on the beach started CPR. He was rushed to the local trauma hospital where he learned that he had not only drowned, but had also ruptured a disc in his neck and would likely be a quadriplegic for the rest of his life. He was very lucky to be alive. Upon learning of HealthSouth Sea Pines Rehabilitation Hospital’s reputation as Brevard County’s only acute rehabilitation hospital, David’s family insisted that he go there for the best possible care.
“Within a week of working with the staff at HealthSouth Sea Pines, I was able to stand up and get out of bed,” said David. As his swelling subsided, he regained some mobility and movement on his own, which aided in “fine-tuning” his motor skills when working with the physical and occupational therapists at HealthSouth Sea Pines. “I tried to keep a positive attitude about my situation and my progress while I was there,” he said. “The staff is so encouraging and knowledgeable that it only helped you to keep your spirits up.” David continued to work on his mobility issues in the HealthSouth Sea Pines outpatient department.
David would say that by 2009, he was 65 percent recovered from his accident. Unfortunately, that was the year he was diagnosed with cancer and had to fight a whole new battle. “The chemo therapy that I went through exaggerated some of my nerve damage from the accident,” David shared. “But HealthSouth Sea Pines definitely made a huge difference in my recovery [from the accident]. I had a good time-well, as good of a time as you can have in such a situation. The team at HealthSouth Sea Pines was really great!”
Today, David rejoices in his ability to walk “really well” and use his hands once again. “I’ve gotten a lot of my fine motor skills back, so I can work with some tools, and do some things around the house,” he said. “I’ve also started gardening.” Part of his recovery was learning to rely on visual retraining versus relying on his reflexes; which comes in handy when going on bike rides, spending time with his family, and chasing after his dogs, Vincent and Carson.