Taking a new spin on life after recovering from a stroke

June 23, 2021 Providence News Team
The story of Harry A. Green

Harry A. Green was born and raised in the in St. Aloysius neighborhood just a few blocks away from Gonzaga University campus. Harry is known in the community for his passion for rowing, his senior housing developments and for his master potter skills. When Harry began his career as a master potter people told him he wouldn't be able to make a living from it, but Harry was determined to make this his life's work. After 50 years and traveling all around the world to pursue his passion for pottery, Harry has certainly made a career of it, but on February 9, 2019, Harry thought his passion and dream for pottery may have come to an end. 

It started off as a normal day for Harry, he woke up and his left arm felt a little funny, but he just thought his arm was asleep and didn't think anything of it. He then got ready to have coffee with his brother like he has done every Saturday morning at 7 a.m. for the past 30 years. He then went to the Gonzaga University men's rowing race against Washington State University. After the race, he went to deliver a pot and unloaded a kiln to a customer around noon but called his wife on the way home and told her he could tell something wasn't right. When he walked into the emergence room, he had full control of his body, but he knew something was wrong. He found out shortly after being admitted to the hospital that he was having a stroke. After about a month in the hospital, he went to St. Luke's.

Harry said, "When I was in the hospital, a dear friend, Rich Umbdenstock, came to visit me and told me if you go to St. Luke's you'll recover, and he was right."

Harry is so grateful for the team's at St. Luke's that have worked with him. He said, "They're the A-team, and if you bring your A-game you will be rewarded. If you work hard with them, you'll progress. You'll see it and you'll feel it. Their teams are fabulous, and their quality of care is amazing!"

Harry went through both St. Luke's inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs. Despite it being tough circumstances, Harry really enjoyed his time at St. Luke's and the workouts and pool exercises. The pool exercises helped him progress and get up his stairs at home quicker then he imagined. He also said he learned a lot about nutrition and learn how to maintain his healthy habits at home. He said, "St. Luke's was great at giving me the resources I needed to continue my nutrition and exercise at home. They gave me exercise worksheets, planned menus and shopping lists." He felt good about the progress he was making every time he went to St. Luke's. Harry said he always felt safe with the St. Luke's staff and knew he would be able to progress in his recovery.

He said, "St. Luke's sole focus and goal is for you to get well. You can't recover if you don't trust the people you work with, and I trust them all." 

After 50 years of being a master potter and housing developer, Harry is proud to be able to continue his career of throwing pottery pieces after his stroke. Harry said his first time back to the pottery wheel to throw a pot was a thrill. His goal is for his pottery skills to be back to where they were before his stroke and although he is not there yet, he knows with the help of St. Luke's he will get there.

Harry says, "If I could give someone considering St. Luke's one piece of advice, I would say the same thing my friend Rich Umbdenstock told me, "If you go to St. Luke's you will recover." 

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