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Therapy Helps Pigeon Forge Man Rehab After Stroke

Posted on May 11, 2021

Blessings Great and Small

Despite enduring a very challenging year, Clifford Land counts himself a blessed man.

Clifford Land
Clifford Land, 66 of Pigeon Forge, smiles after a session of occupational therapy.

He and his wife, Sara, have called Pigeon Forge home for almost two decades. He makes a living as an artist working with oil paints. In addition to his artwork, Land, 66, remains active by playing in a basketball league for senior adults. While 2020 was a tough year for everyone, it was especially difficult for Land and his family.

One day in July, the artist’s left arm and leg went completely numb. He knew he needed medical help when he couldn’t stand or walk. He was having a stroke, which immobilized the left side of his body.

Land sought treatment and faced a difficult road to recovery. His entire left side was weakened.

He had to relearn how to use his arm and leg. He spent four weeks in an inpatient rehab facility where a team of healthcare professionals helped him with basic tasks such as getting in and out of bed. Construction crews had to make his home wheelchair-accessible by adding a ramp and widening doorways.

Land spent several months in a wheelchair and was visited frequently by home healthcare professionals including therapists who helped him navigate around obstacles at home and perform daily tasks such as cooking and dressing.

Cliff Land and Lori Lane, OT
Senior occupational therapist Lori Lane, OT/L, gives her patients one-on-one treatment at Covenant Health Therapy Center-Sevierville. Therapy helped Clifford Land, a long-time athlete, grasp a basketball with both hands for the first time since his stroke.

Land did his best not to let the feelings of hopelessness and debilitation overtake him, especially when the home healthcare services ended. Sara recalls, “As his wife, I am so glad he reached out and found Covenant Health

Therapy Centers. It has made all the difference. He is doing so much better and it has been such a blessing.”

New Hope

Lori Lane is a senior occupational therapist with Covenant Health Therapy Center at LeConte Medical Center who has worked with Land for the past two months. She guided her patient in personalized exercises to strengthen his left shoulder and improve posture. She used kinesiology taping and an electrical stimulation unit to help his shoulder alignment. “I always make sure my patients know that they can make progress for years after a stroke occurs, and that improvement is possible,” says Lane. She says Land “is sleeping better, and is able to use the left arm to hold and drink from a cup. He has resumed driving and is now arriving to therapy using a cane instead of a wheelchair.”

“They push me and I’m not afraid to sweat, so I get in there and do it,” says Land. “I guess I take the athletic approach to it, which is ‘if you don’t use it — you lose it!’ It’s been awesome; I really enjoy having them challenge me.”

Eager to Heal

Land wears a brace on his left ankle to keep it stable. His leg is stiff in the mornings, so he stretches and moves slowly to warm it up. He knows his journey to “normal” is a steady and winding one, but his positive attitude remains steadfast.

While continuing his recovery, he has been able to return to his life’s passion, creating works of art, which has helped take his mind off the tough parts of recovery. He can now use both hands to reframe canvases.

Winter Scene portrait by Cliff Land
“Winter Scene,” oil on canvas, 4’x6′ by Clifford Land

Gratitude and Grandkids

His wife says, “We have had people praying for Cliff, always behind him, praying for him to keep his positive attitude. We are so grateful for every little improvement, and prayer is what has gotten us through this experience.”

Now, Land is accustomed to resting at home and he enjoys playing checkers with his grandchildren. “I’m teaching my granddaughter how to play chess,” he says. “I am enjoying all the time I have with them.” He continues creating works of art to display in galleries near and far, as well as for his own creativity.

For more information about therapy services at LeConte Medical Center, call (865) 446-9750 or visit CovenantHealth.com/therapy-centers and select “Sevierville” or “Seymour.”