Man Heals Physically and Emotionally After Having a Stroke
Dipesh Bhatia finds a second family during brain injury rehabilitation at Shepherd Center.
Dipesh Bhatia, 39, of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, was visiting family in Atlanta on Thanksgiving Day, 2017, when he collapsed from a stroke.
While in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, unable to walk or talk, Dipesh believed his situation so dire he urged his wife to write a will so he could sign it.
Three days later, he was transferred to Shepherd Center. Dipesh spent three months in Shepherd’s Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program, then two months at Shepherd Pathways, Shepherd Center’s comprehensive outpatient program for people with brain injuries.
“I thought my life was gone,” Dipesh says. “Shepherd gave me a second chance.”
Dipesh’s first weeks at Shepherd Center were his toughest. During a Christmas party for patients, with snow falling in Atlanta, Dipesh lamented how he loved to play outside on days like that with his five-year-old daughter. His future seemed bleak.
“I was feeling lost,” he recalls. “It was hard for me to believe I was 38 and had a daughter and couldn’t go see her. It was troublesome for me.
“But the therapists handled me emotionally as well as physically,” he says. “They figured out I was not happy and throughout that day they came to me and talked to me personally. I almost felt like I had a second family at Shepherd.”
Dipesh’s rehabilitation progressed one step, and one word, at a time. He eventually went on outings with other patients, including to a nearby coffee shop.
“I was so desperate to have Starbucks coffee,” he laughs.
Therapists responded to his wishes to swim and play basketball. He began taking yoga classes offered at Shepherd, and continues to do yoga today.
In June 2018, seven months after his stroke, Dipesh returned to his job in Colorado as director of software engineering.
Sitting at home now with hisvfamily back in Colorado, Dipesh says one word exemplifies his Shepherd experience.
“Hopefulness,” he says. “It was all about hope. Don’t give up.”
Written by Drew Jubera
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 900 inpatients, 575 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year.