For Bob Gauldin, 2020 was a year of challenge beyond what she could have ever imagined. The year began with a routine wellness visit for the then 62-year-old in which Bob was found to be confused with diminished awareness. This was the beginning of an unexpected year-long journey through rehabilitation and recovery.
Bob was diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis with encephalopathy. In other words, brain dysfunction brought on by diabetes. This led to Bob being in a confused state along with extreme weakness from the ketoacidosis.
Bob needed speech-language pathology to address her cognitive issues and occupational and physical therapy to improve mobility. She chose Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation - Frisco (BSWIR-Frisco) where she worked closely with therapists to improve her memory and confusion, along with physical weakness. After two weeks, Bob improved in both areas and was ready to go home and continue treatment with home health care.
However, Bob’s medical scare wasn’t over. Throughout the summer, additional testing revealed several other complications, including an enlarged liver and lymph nodes, internal bleeding and other cardiovascular issues.
Upon this discovery, Bob was immediately admitted to Baylor Scott & White Heart Hospital Plano where she underwent two surgeries, keeping Bob in the hospital for months. The barrage of medical complications eventually caused Bob to suffer a stroke in her spinal cord.
After being stabilized, Bob was admitted back into BSWIR-Frisco for her intensive rehabilitation. Bob was partially paralyzed in her legs and needed assistance with completing even the most simple of tasks and activities of daily living. At first, progress was slow but Bob’s care team knew they were on the right track. They continued with the treatment plan and then it happened -- Bob had a breakthrough moment.
“One night in bed, I was able to move my left leg slightly to the left and back. Then I tried the right side as well. It was very slight and in bed, but I thought I can do this! It will get better.”
Bob began to rally, making big gains at a rapid pace. She evolved from a power wheelchair to a regular wheelchair, from a mechanical lift to transfer her in and out of bed, to a slide board – all in a matter of days. Bob continued to regain function in her legs through repetitive therapy and consistency in muscle movements and gives credit to the constant positive encouragement from her therapists, nurses and physicians which helped keep her morale and motivation high.
“My team made me feel like I really progressed although it’s hard for me to see it or believe it. It’s been quite a journey. I’ll say sometimes you have to leave your dignity at the door. Look to humor to get you through some difficult situations. Learn to let things go! I can get through anything one day at a time, even one minute to the next.”