Roger Minyard

In March, Roger Minyard underwent surgery to unblock his left anterior descending artery. When a blockage in this artery causes a heart attack, it’s often called “the widowmaker.” Though Roger’s surgery was a success, COVID-19 complicated his recovery. The virus caused Roger to spend five days on a ventilator and eight weeks at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

COVID-19 took a serious toll on Roger’s body. He recalled that while at Vanderbilt, therapists came to his room to try and help him walk around his bed. “I remember thinking that once I got out of bed I was going to be able to walk to the bathroom,” he said. But I was unable to even raise my foot to take a step.”

With time, Roger improved enough to begin an inpatient rehabilitation program. He transferred to SKY Rehab to continue his therapies and advance his recovery. Upon admission to SKY, Roger was unable to ambulate without hands-on assistance and required oxygen at all times.

Before long, that would all change.

Roger was impressed with how quickly he improved at SKY. The therapists helped Roger wean down his oxygen usage and walk the length of the hallway. “Each day, they pushed a little more,” he shared. “You think you can’t handle it, but it’s the pushing, sometimes, that gets the job done. Without that, I would probably still be lying in bed.”

“If every day was the same, you wouldn’t have any desire to go on,” he continued. “As I built my strength up, I was encouraged enough to continue and every day I got better!”

After eight days at SKY, Roger was ready to discharge home. But he wasn’t ready to stop improving. Roger decided to continue his therapies through SKY’s outpatient department. He attributed his success as an outpatient to the working relationships he developed with his therapists. “They helped motivate me to get up and get going,” Roger noted.

“I had some great people here who made it a pleasure to come in and do my therapies. They made it more fun, rather than a burden.”

Roger also noted the impact his family had on his recovery. Once discharged, Roger’s family rallied around him, continuing to encourage him daily. With their support, he can walk a mile and a half, twice per day. Roger looks forward to working on his classic cars and attending car shows again.

“It’s been a journey and I am thankful it has turned out like it has! I am able to do some things now. If it doesn’t get any better than where I am right now, well, then I would still be thankful for how much I can do, and I know I can work around my issues.”