Jimmy Son works in the family business, a Korean bakery where he helps manage the day-to-day operations, as well as some of the custom cake designs. By his own admission, Jimmy admits he was not living the healthiest of lifestyles, but he never expected that his life would change forever on an August morning.
Jimmy was having trouble getting dressed and could not get his leg into his pants. Something was very wrong. He called his brother to pick him up and take him to the doctor, but on the way to the hospital he passed out. Jimmy was air-lifted to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas (BUMC) where he would remain for three weeks. Jimmy doesn’t remember anything from the time he passed out in the car throughout his entire stay at BUMC.
Jimmy suffered a stroke and had several blood clots that were near his ear that were removed during surgery. Doctors at BUMC believe his history of cardiac issues may have contributed to his stroke.
When Jimmy arrived at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation – Frisco (BSWIR-Frisco), he was considered a severe case. He had suffered severe cognitive memory recall, loss of feeling and weakness in his right arm and leg and loss of vision in both eyes when looking to the right.
Remembering small things, like who his therapists were, became a challenge. Incorporating a memory notebook created by his speech-language pathologist helped him keep track of daily activities and provided photos of his care team.
Jimmy’s vision issues made it difficult to walk in busy environments, frequently running into obstacles. His occupational therapist used what’s called “lighthouse” strategies to improve awareness on his impaired side. This includes using visual anchors, guides, and an emphasized turn toward a patient’s weak side to ensure safely navigating any given space. Occupational therapists also worked extensively on multi-tasking while incorporating visual scanning during routine activities. Jimmy also wore prism glasses to help further improve his vision.
With a high risk of falling, Jimmy’s physical therapist incorporated balance exercises daily using a BOSU ball and balance beam. Physical therapy activities also included visual scanning and obstacle avoidance.
Jimmy credits his turnaround to his family. His brother supported him 100 percent throughout his recovery, attending therapy sessions and encouraging Jimmy to trust in the process. Jimmy’s son was his motivation, constantly driving him to get better so he could be there for his boy. It was after this turning point when Jimmy learned a lot about himself, regained his determination and rediscovered his kind heart in helping others.
Through the hospital’s therapeutic recreation program, Jimmy was able to do several activities that were not only fun, but also played a key role in recovery. Outings at the grocery store, bowling, golfing and swimming all helped him regain confidence in social and community settings. This was especially important to Jimmy, as he was a very social person before his stroke.
Upon discharge, Jimmy was able to walk out of the BSWIR-Frisco unassisted on his way to our Day Neuro Program to continue his therapy. There he was able to build on the progress he’s made in inpatient rehabilitation.
Today, Jimmy is back at the family bakery, where he has been able to get back to work part-time.