Patient Stories: 
Tim at the gym

It was a day that changed the direction in one man's life. Tim Kelly, a manufacturing sales representative, was wrapping Christmas presents late at night two days before Christmas. As he headed downstairs to get some tape, he took a fall down the stairs. It resulted in a crimped spinal cord and swelled damaged nerves. He was taken to Hartford Hospital where he was diagnosed to have a cervical neck injury.

After being in Hartford Hospital for five days, Tim was given a choice of rehabilitation hospitals for further care. He chose Hospital for Special Care because it was conveniently located close to home. He arrived at HSC on December 28th. When he got here he was paralyzed from the waist down and both his hands were clenched in fists. Tim quickly bonded with the clinicians in the hospital. He remembers Cheri, his case manager, and Katie from Therapeutic Recreation. Katie set him up with a special button for TV and phone, adjusted his bed and programmed eight phone number contacts. Having his own room with gadgets gave Tim what he calls his first experience of regained freedom. He learned of the librarian, Amy, who got him a Kindle, so he could read books and check his emails.

Through intense therapy and hard work, Tim was able to make progress after the accident. He received much encouragement and support from Colleen, his physical therapist. Just ten days after he got to HSC, Tim had an electric stimulator on his hand and was able to open his hand for the first time since his fall. However, Tim continued to have trouble with sitting up, getting up and walking around. Finally, three months later, he was able to go home.


Tim receives physical therapy at Hospital for Special Care twice a week. He volunteers at HSC three days a week assisting on the Step Down and Trans Rehab units. On Monday mornings, Tim runs a leisure exploration group, and, that same afternoon, he assists with bingo. On Wednesdays, Tim brings daily news to the group. On Friday afternoons, he plays "Name That Tune", where he plays a song, stops the music in the middle, and the patients finish the lyrics. Early each day Tim is on the computers in preparation for his groups, and outside the group he can be found using the HSC facilities such as the fitness center or the pool.

Tim is looking forward to continuing in these and other capacities should the need arise. Tim's wife, Mary Lynn, is a financial analyst at a local utility company. His daughter, Kristen, works for the District Attorney's office in Brockton, MA, and his son, John, is majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston. Tim's entire HSC experience has been challenging yet rewarding. It has changed his life.