At age 60, Joe Yow is blessed to still be able to visit both of his parents. He is often over at their home two or three times a week to help around the house. During one of these routine visits, it was Joe’s mother who may have saved his life. On this particular evening, Joe decided to stay the night and because moms are always moms, she checked on him first thing the next morning. She found Joe unable to speak or move the entire right side of his body. He just had a stroke.
Joe was rushed to the emergency room at Harris Methodist Downtown in Fort Worth where he would spend the next 10 days. Joe couldn’t talk, swallow, or walk and could barely move in his bed without assistance. The stroke also affected Joe’s cognitive abilities like processing information and organizing thoughts. Joe also had an adverse reaction to one of his medications causing extreme nausea and the loss of 50 pounds.
Joe recalled how difficult those first few days were after his stroke, “I was so affected emotionally, I felt alone. I had lost who I was, and I really struggled at the beginning with how I was going to live after my stroke."
After Joe stabilized, it was time for the next phase of his recovery. After researching different options, his family chose Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation – Fort Worth (BSWIR – Fort Worth).
When Joe first began rehabilitation at BSWIR – Fort Worth, he had one goal: just to be back to the normal Joe again. He had a long way to go, but a specialized rehabilitation team was determined to get him there. Speech therapy was key to regaining much of what he had lost. Thankfully, Joe’s family was also there for him to provide motivation and support. His mom even brought him home-cooked meals to keep him going.
Through specialized speech therapy sessions, Joe began to regain his ability to communicate, read and process information. Along with that, he worked on swallowing techniques that enabled him to eat a regular diet. Then, physical and occupational therapy worked together to transition Joe out of his wheelchair and focus on self-care tasks that weren’t attainable upon admission.
“Every day I chose to trust my therapists, and every day a piece of my life came back,” Joe aid. He saw everyday as a momentous occasion and celebrated every accomplishment, no matter how big or small.
After his time at BSWIR – Fort Worth and our Day Neuro Program, Joe was not only walking with a cane, but doing jumping jacks. And his speech and cognition had improved so much that he was able pick back up one of his favorite hobbies: reading.
Upon discharge, Joe shared: “I have a whole different perspective on life. I look at it from a much happier and more positive perspective after my stroke. I understand there are some things I can’t change so I might as well enjoy everything that I’m able to do.”
Joe looks forward to being able to visit his parents and do errands they need around the house again.