Bill Cummins

William “Bill” Cummins was a healthy, active 61-year-old before his stroke. Bill had just been to his physician’s office to get clearance for a kidney stone removal. He left the office with a clean bill of health. The life-changing health event around the corner would be completely unexpected.

Unfortunately, Bill counted himself among the millions of Americans who smoke. Smoking increases the likelihood that platelets stick together. It also damages the lining of blood vessels. Smoking raises the risk of blood clots forming — like the one that entered Bill’s brain causing his stroke. Though Bill’s wife, Sandy, knew smoking was unhealthy, she never pushed him to quit. “Had I known, I would have encouraged him years ago to quit smoking,” she said.

Before the stroke, Bill was completely independent. His responsibilities included oversight of his mother’s real estate properties, whom he visited in Crestline several times per week.

Originally at a skilled nursing facility, Bill transferred to Ballard Rehabilitation Hospital for acute inpatient rehabilitation. Sandy had heard about Ballard from a good friend whose relative did well at the hospital. She knew Bill would do just as well, if not better.

Bill’s stroke affected his right side and ability to speak. He also has what is known as expressive aphasia, or Broca’s aphasia. Broca’s aphasia is a type of aphasia characterized by partial loss of the ability to produce language. Generally, comprehension remains intact. A person with expressive aphasia will exhibit effortful speech. Bill’s daughter, Anyssa, reports that he is making great progress with his speech while at Ballard. She noted he recently spoke an entire sentence about wanting his shoes on.

Though Bill’s rehabilitation journey is just beginning, the foundation is being built for his recovery. He has made great gains with physical, occupational, and speech therapies. Bill will discharge able to walk with a walker and manage his activities of daily living. Upon completion of his inpatient stay, he will begin outpatient services. This therapy will ensure he reaches his highest level of function.