On a mid-fall day, Brenda Adams, a 61-year-old retiree, observed a storm approaching from her patio. Rather than working in her garden, Brenda spent some of the day playing Scrabble with her spouse and interacting with her dog, Jennie. She then headed indoors.
"I made it back to the door before I fell and was taken by ambulance to the hospital," Brenda recalled.
Physicians at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth diagnosed her with a stroke. "The stroke affected my speech the most," she said. "I also couldn't do anything with my right arm."
Upon arriving at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) – Fort Worth, Brenda could still walk, but she struggled to communicate and had difficulty understanding those around her. The expert rehabilitation team at BSWIR – Fort Worth developed a treatment plan focused on speech and occupational therapy. This unique program aimed to help Brenda achieve her rehabilitation goals. "My goals were to be able to talk again. It was so frustrating to not be able to communicate," she said. "I wanted to get back to being normal and gardening again."
The first step was enabling Brenda to communicate once more. Her therapists began working on restoring her ability to write. After some effort, Brenda managed to write her name, a significant milestone for her. "That was huge," she said. "After that, I started being able to write for communication and was able to get my needs across."
Her therapists also engaged her in activities to further strengthen and enhance the use of her right hand. Brenda remembered using colored clothespins to sharpen her fine motor skills. "I hated those, but they were so good for my right hand and arm." She also attended a class that helped her better understand the people around her. "I liked the aphasia class because communication was my main goal, and it was so beneficial to me," she said.
Brenda's hard work, the support of her spouse, and the encouragement from her therapists resulted in tangible progress. "I have made a lot of progress in my ability to communicate and use my right hand. When I first started, I couldn't say anything and had to write everything out. Now I am mostly able to communicate, and my right hand is mostly back," she said.
After her inpatient rehab stay, Brenda transitioned to the BSWIR – Fort Worth Day Neuro program. The Day Neuro program is a comprehensive outpatient program that provides focused rehabilitation for people like Brenda who have had a stroke, a brain injury, or other neurological disorders.
As she prepares to move to the next stage in her rehabilitation journey, Brenda describes her experience at BSWIR – Fort Worth as wonderful. "During the worst time of my life, I met so many capable, helpful people," she said. Now that she is stronger, however, she has one thing on her mind. "I'm really looking forward to getting back into gardening."