When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going: Warren’s Story

No one is ever prepared to have a stroke. It’s not something you expect, or something you’ve trained for. Your recovery is not a picnic — it’s a journey, and sometimes a battle. While you can’t necessarily prepare yourself for a stroke, for some, life has prepared them for the battle. And for Warren Robinson, that’s just what happened.

Warren started his journey long before his days of being a patient at Magee. Warren enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1953, where he served for 3 years. Ten years later, he re-enlisted in the Army as a paratrooper, where he was awarded membership as a Green Beret. Warren is a loyal serviceman to his country, a dedicated husband to his wife, a loving father to his children, and now a stroke survivor. Warren suffered a stroke in November 2013 and has spent the last few months doing therapy at Magee Rehab.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Warren and hear how his previous military training has helped him to approach his rehabilitation process with optimism and determination. Here are some words of his words of wisdom:

None of us realize that before we are sick how much the mind controls everything about us, and when you have a stroke, part of it or some cells are destroyed, and we don’t know until we have it what parts of ourselves are no longer functional…

One of the major things that I learned by being a Marine and a soldier was that there are levels of self one can go to that I would have never known had I not been pushed. Once I was pushed to those levels I understood that when the going gets tough, the tough get going!

For Warren, this time, tough was not serving in a foreign country during war; it was retraining his body to work again. Instead of facing danger by jumping from a plane or fighting to protect our great country, he now uses his strong drive to learn to walk, swallow and be independent again.

When asked what words of advice he would give to other stroke and brain injury survivors, Warren concluded with this:

The first word I would think of is pride. Pride of self and pride of country. Once we learned that, then we no longer look for excuses for failure. We look up and forward and believe that we can endure and accomplish whatever comes at us.

So in this case, the going got tough, and Warren got going.

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