Donna Young was busy preparing for Thanksgiving. While making deviled eggs, she popped a broken egg white into her mouth. She began to choke but was home alone, so had to perform the Heimlich maneuver on herself. After several thrusts against kitchen counter, the egg finally dislodged from her throat. Shaken and a bit out of breath, Donna was thankful she was okay, or so she thought.
That evening she developed a slight headache. The next night she worked her normal 12-hour nursing shift, but headache had worsened and continued to exacerbate. Donna knew she needed to head to the emergency room (ER). At Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano, she underwent a CT scan and MRI. Tests revealed the cause of the headaches: a sub-arachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), commonly known as a brain bleed. Donna had a temporary shunt placed to alleviate the bleeding which was also causing dizziness, balance issues and memory issues. Donna’s physicians suggested a neuro rehabilitation program to for additional recovery. The Day Neuro Program at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation – Frisco (BSWIR – Frisco) was the perfect fit for her.
Donna’s main goals upon admission to the program were to regain balance and be cleared to return to work as a nurse. To do that, her rehabilitation team started Donna on a return-to-work program designed to help restore the executive level cognition needed to do her job. Speech-language pathology (SLP) was essential to this goal and utilized software called ‘HAPPYneuron’ that was specifically designed to stimulate cognitive functions. It is an engaging, personalized approach to cognitive rehabilitation.
Physical therapists worked with Donna to controlling her dizziness and improve balance through exercises while occupational therapy focused on improving daily routine activities, including tasks she will be faced with as a nurse.
Donna was amazed at the continuity of her care team noting the strong sense of teamwork. “I liked that they adapted the program to my needs specifically. I also felt the treatment was individualized for me. I didn’t realize how bad I really was after the brain bleed. I don’t think I could have functioned if I hadn’t gone to through the program.”
Donna had a great support system with her family, too. “My family pulled together. There was always someone there for me when I needed them such as driving me where I needed to go.”
After completing the Day Neuro Program, Donna most looked forward to returning to work full-time as a nurse, where she can focus on helping her patients get better, instead of the other way around.