At age 65, Randy Lewis was still working as a clerk in a pharmaceutical business. He hadn’t considered retirement yet, until a life-changing event gave him a new perspective on life. Randy didn’t know he was at a higher risk of stroke, but with a past history of one at age 55 – albeit a minor one – it increased Randy’s likelihood that he could have another stroke in his lifetime. And that is exactly what happened.
Randy’s second stroke started with a strange symptom -- really tight hamstrings. At first, he didn’t know what to make of that and went home from work to try and sleep it off. When Randy woke the next morning, it was still the same so he went to his doctor who sent him to Harris Methodist near downtown Fort Worth, where testing confirmed he had suffered a stroke.
Once again, it was minor, but it was a stroke nonetheless. After a couple days of monitoring at the hospital, Randy was sent home and began traditional outpatient therapy, but he didn’t feel like much progress was happening after a couple months. He hardly had any use of his left arm and hand, couldn’t walk without a walker and was having trouble retaining and processing information. Randy knew he needed a higher level of care, and that is when he says God led him to the Day Neuro Program at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation – Fort Worth (BSWIR-Fort Worth).
Randy came across a patient testimonial from a previous patient at BSWIR-Fort Worth and asked his neurologist about it. His doctor gave him a referral on a Friday and began his Day Neuro Program on the following Monday.
“Everyone at BWIR was concerned about my well-being and helped me get closer to my goals. I’ve gotten back to cooking, showering on my own, ironing clothes, and doing house chores like I used to. I’m walking with a cane, and the biggest thing – I’m driving again!”
Combining physical, occupation and speech therapy in a full-day intensive therapy program began to give Randy the results he was looking for to get back to his life. There was nothing he would not do to keep improving. Through physical therapy, Randy worked daily on walking and was able to regain his independence.
Dry needling and functional electrical stimulation were incorporated into his physical therapy regimen to help activate the muscles in his affected side. Working with his occupational therapist, Randy built back his range of motion in his arm and fingers, which would lead to the big turning point in his recovery.
A stroke can make you realize all the small tasks you take for granted, and for Randy, one of those was tying his shoes. One day, Randy was determined to do this on his own. His therapist got down and worked with him on tying with just one hand. To Randy’s surprise, he was able to use both hands – even his affected hand – to tie his own shoes. His therapy was working.
As Randy continued to see progress, he began looking toward his future. He wanted to get back to doing the things he loved. He wants to volunteer, travel, spend more time with grandkids, ride his bike, and get a dog.
Above all, this situation had given Randy more time to be with Evelyn, his wife. It was this revelation that prompted Randy to rethink retirement. He’s truly enjoyed the additional time at home Evelyn who was there to support him during every step of his recovery.
For Randy, his discharge was bittersweet, sharing “The love you see and feel right when you walk in the door here is tangible. I’m really going to miss my therapists and the people here. You have really become a family to me.”