For more than 30 years, Kimberly Floyd, a radiology technician, has helped diagnose patients’ potential health issues. She recently channeled her health care background in caring for her husband, who had undergone cancer surgery. As the COVID-10 pandemic descended on the U.S., she also focused on keeping everyone around her safe.
In early July, she began to experience persistent, painful headaches. Two days later, they were severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. Scans revealed nothing, and doctors sent her home. On July 8, however, stroke symptoms – including weakness and facial sagging – appeared. Kimberly dialed 911 and was rushed back to the ER.
When she first arrived at the hospital she had lost the use of her left leg and left arm. Luckily she’d regained most of the use in her leg within just a week, but her arm was still paralyzed. Her Neurologist recommended she continue her recovery at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation – Lakeway because of its specialized rehabilitation program.
Kimberly arrived with left-side weakness, balance issues and had difficulty speaking and thinking clearly. Still, she was able to articulate her goals of wanting to regain her independence and return to work.
A physician-led team of therapists, nurses and other rehab professionals created an individualized recovery plan. She faced a number of hurdles, the first was psychological. Afraid to fail, she worried whether progress would come at all. Her team advised her to take things one day at a time. They cheered each small victory, and celebrated every milestone.
Throughout her journey, Kimberly leaned on her faith, crediting God and the power of prayer for helping summon strength to push ahead.
Physical therapists retrained her legs to work together, and over time, Kimberly transitioned from a walker to cane to independent, or minimally assisted, mobility. Occupational therapists worked alongside, deploying dexterity and fine motor tasks to get brain and body functioning together. Therapists also used light electrical stimulation to rebuild left arm and finger movement. Speech therapists used memory, critical thinking and reasoning exercises to improve cognitive skills.
Kimberly recalled being initially impressed by the hospital’s cleanliness, and the staff’s dedication. It was indicative, she said, of all the ways her care team went beyond expectations.
“Everyone was so attentive, positive and encouraging,” Kimberly said. “The therapy staff were very knowledgeable, qualified and creative at doing their jobs. I have so much respect for each one of them.”
After 18 days, she’d made great progress and was ready to return home. Getting back to work was the final goal to cross off her list.
Her advice to those just beginning their rehabilitation journey?
“Work hard and keep pushing through,” she said. “Many patients at this hospital are at different stages in their recovery. You never know who is watching you and drawing inspiration from your hard work and dedication.”