Dayton man fights his way back from stroke

Jim Grant/Nevada AppealAs his wife Linda Gallardo looks on, Dayton resident Raul Gallardo, who suffered a stroke in May, pedals a recumbent bike during a physical therapy session at High Desert Therapists in Dayton on Friday morning.

Jim Grant/Nevada AppealAs his wife Linda Gallardo looks on, Dayton resident Raul Gallardo, who suffered a stroke in May, pedals a recumbent bike during a physical therapy session at High Desert Therapists in Dayton on Friday morning.

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DAYTON - Raul Gallardo used all his might to raise his right arm Friday at High Desert Therapists. He scrunched up his face and concentrated on doing as Dr. Rick Stephenson asked.

It seemed an almost impossible task but Gallardo did it. Not once, not twice but at least half a dozen times, breathless after the effort.

"He's determined to get back on his Harley," said wife Linda as she looked lovingly at her husband of seven years.

In May the 60-year-old Gallardo suffered a near-fatal stroke as he worked a temporary job cleaning up along the Carson River in Dayton.

For three days Gallardo was unconscious. Linda said she prayed like she's never prayed before. When he awoke, his right side was paralyzed.

He has difficulty walking, having to force his right leg to cooperate. His right hand is lifeless, though Dr. Stephenson thinks indications of activity in Gallardo's right shoulder suggest he'll regain some use of it.

It's hard at times to understand Gallardo, who hasn't yet learned to slow down his speech pattern to accommodate his heavy tongue.

"It even took my voice away," he said.

But as time passes, things physically are getting better for the man, well known in the small communities of Dayton and Mound House where he has been a fixture for at least 15 years as an honest, hardworking fellow.

"All you have to do is talk to Raul and you know what a great guy he is," said Kurt Stewart at the Mound House True Value Hardware store where a donation bucket for Gallardo sits on the counter.

Pre-stroke, Gallardo made ends meet working his own yard cleaning business and at temporary jobs.

Linda said, though they had no health insurance, he insisted she saw a doctor for her high blood pressure. She said his stubborn streak prevented him from having his own checked.

"Uncontrolled high blood pressure is what caused his stroke," said Linda.

Now unable to work, the couple is subsisting on Linda's monthly disability check of $695 - their rent alone is $650 - and the generosity of friends.

"If you know me, I was always a go-getter and this took it away," Gallardo said, hanging his head. "I used to be sad. I used to cry. Now I'm glad I'm alive."

For what the stroke did take, Gallardo has made up in spirit.

During his three-month recovery, he's regained some movement of his right leg - partly due to Dr. Stephenson's twice weekly therapy sessions and mostly due to Gallardo's stubbornness.

Linda said the paperwork has been done for Medicaid, they are just waiting on approval.

"I've been collecting the bills and I've got a stack of them. I can't do anything about them right now," she said.

While Gallardo sees his wife as his savior - she's taken care of him since his stroke, and continues to be his constant companion and champion - she calls him her savior.

"He means everything to me. He's a wonderful husband," she said. "He's my hero. Always has been, always will be."

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