Conner Davis

Conner Davis was having a pretty good day for a young man of 21. He had taken the day off work from his construction job to take his girlfriend to a doctor’s appointment. Sitting in the parking lot waiting for his girlfriend, Conner began to feel hungry. Then the headache started. By the time his girlfriend returned to the car, Conner’s headache was so bad he felt like he would throw up.

The pain had Conner to the point of tears. He drove home and ran a hot bath, thinking the heat would help resolve the headache.

That was the last memory Conner has of that day.

Finding him unconscious, Conner’s girlfriend called his mom, Karen. They got Conner to Norton Brownsboro Hospital, where a CT scan showed that he suffered an intracranial hemorrhage, a type of stroke. At the hospital, Dr. Lao performed surgery on Conner.

Conner spent the next dozen days in the ICU. He doesn’t remember much except the excruciating pain in his head and back. It was almost unbearable.

Pain is nothing new to Conner. He was diagnosed with a congenital condition called Chiari malformation at eight years old. This condition is where part of the brain bulges where the spinal cord meets the brain. Though Conner knows headaches and pain, he noted the stroke was the worst pain he’s ever experienced.

Once stable, Conner transferred to Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital (SIRH) to begin intensive rehabilitation.

Conner arrived at SIRH very weak but wanted to get up and moving immediately. Initially, he was frustrated that he couldn’t. “But boy, did my therapists know what they were doing holding me back a bit,” he added. “When I got up and going, I could tell how my equilibrium and strength were depleted. Looking back, my therapists knew exactly how much I could do each day.”

Now, eleven days later, Conner has regained enough strength that he can safely return home — much to Karen’s delight. Aside from some vision and equilibrium issues, Conner is doing great and has big plans for the summer.

Conner’s plans start with sitting on his front porch and playing his guitar. A wonderful musician, Conner is inspired by two musicians in particular: Zach Bryan, a country musician from Oklahoma, and Tyler Childers, a country bluegrass native of nearby Kentucky. He hopes that word gets to these two musicians about how much their music has helped him during his recovery from stroke.

Additionally, Conner has regained his appetite, eyeing up a steak for his first meal home.

Conner plans to spend many upcoming days at his favorite lakes and ponds around his southern Indiana home. And Conner has big career plans, too. He’s always wanted to be a realtor, and he feels now, more than ever, it’s time to pursue that career.

Conner and Karen wish to thank a few special people specifically. First, Dr. Thomas Moriarity, the Chief of Neurosurgery at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville. The “amazing” Dr. Moriarity has been with them for many years.

They also wish to thank all the nurses at Norton Brownsboro. “It was a horrible, traumatic time, and I wouldn’t have made it without their help and kindness,” Karen said.

And at SIRH, they wish to thank all the therapists and nurses that “just knew what to do” and were there for Conner, whatever he needed. Lastly, Kelli, the clinical liaison who met them at the hospital and made the transition to rehab so easy. “She put us at ease and was caring beyond words.”