Friday, February 13, 2015

Getting Home

This week, I would like to tell a success story. A year ago, we had a patient come into the facility that I work at and she had suffered from a severe stroke on the right side of her brain. She came in favoring one side, as if nothing was holding her up anymore. She couldn’t communicate with anyone and you couldn’t tell whether she was happy, sad, hungry, or any type of feeling. She had no strength in the left side of her body, and it was to the point that she couldn’t even pick her arm up to wave at someone or wiggle her fingers. This was going to be a challenge for the therapists that I worked with. After six weeks of therapy, she could lift up her left arm and bring it to her nose. She wasn’t able to shake your hand with a grip, but she could lift her hand to her nose.The only thing she could so with with her left leg was wiggle her toes, and it seemed as if there was no positive goal in sight that we were going to be able to reach. After six months, this patient could use both hands to eat and lift up objects that were less than five pounds. She could also stand up and hold her own body weight, but she couldn’t take any steps. Here we are a year later, and this patient is going home to be with her family. She can walk on her own, with a walker.Now she can communicate her feelings, wants, and her needs. She is definitely not the same person she was before her stroke, but the fact that these therapists were able to get her back to a function where she could be somewhat independent is amazing. I couldn’t be prouder of how hard they have worked with this patient. I, myself, grew to care for this patient like she was my own grandmother. It was just such an amazing and satisfying feeling to see her walk out on her own, knowing she was going to be able to live her life in a way that wasn’t hopeless.
The doctor that diagnosed her in the hospital told her family to expect her to need care from nurses the rest of her life. In a magazine, it states that less than 5% of severe strokes on the right side are able to rehabilitate to a functional level. I am honored to have been able to watch someone beat statistics. The point of my success story, primarily, is to show readers how hard it is to work with patients who have suffered from severe diseases like this. It takes so much motivation, patience, and effort to get someone back to a level of function that wasn’t expected of them. Anyone can beat a statistic.

Adamson, John, (2014). Location of Strokes, Left Versus Right. Women’s Health Organization, 34, 385-399.

Green, Ronda, (2013). Strokes and their Effects. Heart and Stroke Foundation, 2, 100-109.T

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