Steven Martinez, 40, was in the midst of a major career change. He went from being a private gourmet chef to going back to school to become a computer programmer. This was a big move, but one that he prepared for well in advance. What wasn’t in the plans, however, was having a stroke.
Steven had a history of high blood pressure and transient ischemic attacks (TIA), which are often called mini strokes and can present similar symptoms as an actual stroke, but only for a few fleeting minutes. Although they can often be a warning sign of a future stroke, nothing could have prepared Steven for the real thing.
Steven had gone a stretch of not taking his blood pressure medication. As he laid down to take a nap, he noticed his left arm and leg were numb. At first thought it was another TIA, but this time the symptoms continued for hours. He called 911 and was taken to Providence Hospital in Waco, Texas. After undergoing an MRI, doctors confirmed the stroke. “Basically, everything physically was wrong with me. I couldn’t keep my balance, or do routine tasks but I was ok cognitively,” Steven recalled.
After about a month in the hospital, Steven was ready to begin the next step in his recovery process. He selected Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation – Lakeway (BSWIR – Lakeway).
When he first arrived, Steven was unable to walk and required a mechanical lift to help him in and out of bed. His goal was to regain as much mobility as he could so he could live independently again. The hospital’s team of physical therapists and occupational therapists got right to work with Steven. Gait training and specialized arm exercises were key components to getting Steven back on his feet and mobile during therapy sessions.
Steven knew that he had to trust in the rehabilitation process, even if that meant waking up at 7:00 a.m. to hit the therapy gym. His belief was that if he put in as much work as his therapists did, the more progress he would see in his recovery. That fact was never more evident than on the day he was able to forego the lift and get out of bed on his own with minimal assistance.
Through it all, his rehabilitation team was by his side to give him just the right encouragement at just the right time. Steven recalled, “The rehab team provided me with the safe space I needed to reach my goals. Everyone here was annoyingly encouraging!”
Upon discharge, Steven was able to walk out the hospital doors on his own. He had also regained much of his left arm mobility and was able to independently perform all self-care tasks.
Steven is looking forward to getting back home with his pets, hitting reset on his career change, and of course, sleeping past 7:00 a.m.