A registered nurse (RN), Mei Lee is dedicated to taking care of others. She never expected to be on the receiving end of such care herself – until a stroke impacted her at the age of 66.
Mei was rushed to JPS Hospital in Fort Worth, the same hospital where she worked. Although her doctors were able to stabilize her condition, Mei was left with severe right-sided weakness, balance issues, impaired vision and cognitive challenges. She chose Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) – Fort Worth to help with her recovery.
Upon admission, Mei indicated her main goal was to be able to return to work. “I was unable to drive, unable to work, I fatigued quickly and had very slow reaction time. I was numb all on my right side and my balance was affected,” she said. “I just wanted to get better ... to get back to ‘normal.’”
Mei spent nine days as an inpatient at BSWIR-Fort Worth, building her strength and working with the physical, occupational and speech therapists to improve her skills. She also benefitted from medical oversight and nursing care before graduating to BSWIR’s specialized outpatient Day Neuro Program where her progress accelerated over the next eight weeks.
The program’s physical therapists provided Mei with advanced treatment and exercises to increase her strength, balance and mobility. Similarly, her occupational therapists focused on improving the use of her right arm and the ability to perform daily activities independently. They also collaborated with a neuro-optometrist and incorporated a variety of vision exercises to help improves Mei’s sight – which was also impacted by her stroke.
Focusing on cognitive function, BSWIR’s speech language pathologists helped Mei restore her ability to think and communicate clearly, including building memory and related skills through a range of exercises and computer-based programs. As Mei noted, “They even improved my technology skills.”
As she achieved each milestone, Mei found her confidence returning as well. Driving remained one of her major goals and she was able to check that box by participating in BSWIR’s adaptive driving program. At that point, Mei knew that anything was possible – including returning to work part-time with hopes of getting back to her patients full-time.
Reflecting on her experience, Mei said, “I learned to not take things for granted. It’s okay to ask for help ... you have to have grace with yourself. I relied on my spirituality and now have an increased belief in a higher power. I am thankful for my team that helped me understand recovery is possible and truly appreciate all that everyone has done for me.”