‘Mrs. MacGyver’ to the rescue

Glenn Drawdy is the kind of computer company executive who, after suffering a stroke that left him partially paralyzed on his right side, conducts business meetings on his cellphone from Valley Hospital Medical Center’s intensive care unit.

You know, just your normal, unforgettable, driven-personality sort of guy, an upbeat Southerner who’ll see some clouds in the sky and say it’s partly sunny, never partly cloudy.

He’s from Georgia, with the drawl to prove it. Vice president of engineering and service delivery for InfoSystems Inc., which provides information technology solutions for small and medium-size businesses, he came to Las Vegas about a month ago for a conference and still hasn’t been able to leave.

“I only get so many cellphone minutes at a time now,” the 53-year-old executive says behind a sheepish grin that turns to laughter as he sits in a chair in his hospital room. “I didn’t quit working like my boss told me to, so he called my wife and had her take my phone away. But sometimes I still get cellphone privileges.”

He doesn’t need a cellphone for the kind of work he’s been doing daily since June 10 — physical and occupational therapy designed to bring back as much mobility and function as possible.

Though his occupational therapist is named Nicola Gregory, he refers to her as “Mrs. MacGyver” because she frequently goes to places like Hobby Lobby and Lowe’s Home Improvement to buy materials that she can turn into devices to help his rehabilitation.

(Between 1985 and 1992, ABC TV had a ratings success with a show called “MacGyver,” a series that revolved around Angus MacGyver, a secret agent whose main asset was his practical application of scientific knowledge and inventive use of common items, along with his ever present Swiss Army knife.)

“Nicola is just like MacGyver,” Drawdy says as he used both hands and arms to push forward on what appears to be a large picture frame without the picture. “You never know what she’s going to come up with. I never dreamed they did this kind of thing in a hospital. I thought everything was standard.”

His right foot pushes down on the bottom of the frame, which is actually PVC plumbing pipe Gregory purchased at Lowe’s. Sometimes she puts weights on the contraption. Sometimes she connects it to Drawdy with a band for more resistance as he pushes it out.

At Lowe’s she also purchased a rain gutter that she connects to his arm with bands and makes him lift it.

“I couldn’t believe she found rain gutters in the desert,” Drawdy says. “I never thought I’d be lifting a rain gutter like this.”

A foam board Gregory purchased at Hobby Lobby is fastened like a splint to Drawdy’s right hand with straps. The board allows him to do exercises that force him to use his wrist and fingers.

“This stuff really helps,” Drawdy says. “It keeps my fingers from curling up.”

“Because he works so hard he’s coming back faster than anyone I’ve ever seen,” Gregory says as she watches Drawdy move his wrist. “You really have to customize your devices, because every stroke victim is different; different muscles have problems that you need to focus on.”

The therapeutic approach she is using, Gregory explains, is known as Neuro-IFRAH, which focuses on restoring what is missing, not teaching someone to compensate for what is lost by overusing their other side.

What has helped Drawdy, Gregory says, is that his stroke — a blood clot that blocked blood flow in his brain stem — did not affect his cognitive ability.

“He’s still quick to understand,” she says.

Shawna Drawdy, Glenn’s high school sweetheart and his wife of 30 years, says both she and her husband want to stay positive during a time that sees many patients become withdrawn, irritable and depressed.

“We want this rehab time to be productive; time is what you make it,” she says.

Shawna Drawdy says that if Glenn was going to have a stroke, it may have been a blessing that he had it away from home.

“It’s not that I like sleeping in here,” she says, motioning to a little ledge area with a mattress. “But if we were at home, he’d probably have all kinds of distractions with work and people wishing him well. Here he’s just concentrating on getting well. It’s what you do in the early days after a stroke that are most important.”

The Drawdys celebrated their 30th anniversary recently in what they laughingly call “a corner suite” on Valley’s fourth floor — a room that will never be mistaken for the Palazzo, where he was staying during the conference. Of course, they can also point out that you get to see more ambulances out your window at their “Valley Hotel.”

Glenn Drawdy also notes that their Valley room on their anniversary night “was probably more expensive” than anything on the Strip. … I’m glad Blue Cross-Blue Shield is paying for it.”

Smiling, Shawna says, “We even have a wet bar,” which is really a plain white sink near the hospital bed where doctors and nurses wash their hands.

To this day, Glenn Drawdy believes he actually had his stroke as he slept during the early morning hours of June 10.

“I woke up and the lights were moving in my room,” he recalls.

As the day wore on, he felt nauseous in meetings. Finally, an EMT at the hotel suggested he go to the hospital.

Drawdy says there’s one exercise that “Mrs. MacGyver made me do” that he’ll never forget.

“She had me on all fours, and then I’d have to pick up something with one hand,” he remembers. “It was a good way for me to increase strength in my right arm. Guess what I picked up in my left hand as I held myself up with my right? Poker chips. Now that’s an occupational therapist who works in Las Vegas.”

Contact Paul Harasim at pharasim@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2908.

The annual 'Shop with a Cop' event at Target
This year’s "Shop with a Cop" event gave about 40 children the chance to shop at Target alongside a North Las Vegas Police officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Bizutesfaye
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Las Vegans Celebrate Big Snowfall
Las Vegans celebrate big snowfall at Lee Canyon.
Exploring old mines for denim jeans and other vintage items
Caden Gould of Genoa, Nev. talks about his experiences looking for vintage denim jeans and other items in old mines and other places areas across Nevada and the west.
Officers share photo of dead gunman after Las Vegas shooting
A little over an hour after SWAT officers entered Stephen Paddock's suite at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police officers far from the scene were already sharing cell phone photos of the dead Oct. 1 gunman.
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece. (@FlightAlerts_)
Park Service plans ahead for lower lake levels
National Park Service releases new plans to maintain access to the water as Lake Mead continues to shrink.
Women claim abuse at Florence McClure Women's Correctional Facility
Current and ex-inmates, including Merry West, are suing Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Facility, claiming abuse and inadequate medical care. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Butte County Sheriff's Office Body Cam Footage
Bodycam video from Butte County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office Deputy Aaron Parmley, who was in Paradise November 8 helping with evacuations. (Butte County Sheriff's Office)
NDOT construction blasting along State Route 106
NDOT construction blasting along State Route 160, near Mt. Potosi Road, in Clark County as part of a $59 million, 6-mile-long highway widening project that began this summer. (Nevada Department of Transportation)
Car crashes into Papa Murphy's Pizza shop
A driver crashed a car into a western Las Vegas Valley pizza shop on Tuesday morning, police said. (Joe Stanhibel/Special to Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Low-lake-level pumping station nears completion
Barnard Construction and the Southern Nevada Water Authority give one last tour before the new low-lake-level pumping station is activated.
Trailer: Valley of Fires
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
People participated in the 14th annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run which raises cubs for Opportunity Village.
World Holidays Exhibit At The Natural History Museum
Migratory Bird Day teaches adults and kids to celebrate birds
Different organizations offered activities for kids and adults to learn about birds and celebrate their migration journey at Sunset Park. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Interfaith Amigos speak in Las Vegas
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like