Franklin's Story

Franklin Riordan after rehabilitation


Franklin Riordan's day took an unexpected turn when a stroke disrupted his morning routine. Franklin, a 39-year-old realtor, husband and father, had just added cream to his coffee when he suddenly felt something was off. He recounted, "I was putting the cream in my coffee and all of a sudden I felt like something was wrong but I couldn’t say anything."

Right in front of his wife, he collapsed onto the counter, prompting her to quickly seat him in a chair and call for emergency assistance.

The medical team at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth swiftly identified the culprit behind Franklin's stroke: a blood clot. However, there was more—his lungs had an unwelcome guest in the form of an active pulmonary embolus, a blood clot lodged in his lungs. Franklin recollected, "I really don’t remember much from being in the hospital... I had to get stents put in because of the clots. I had actually had a pulmonary embolus a long time ago, but after this, they realized I probably have a clotting disorder."

Unlike many stroke patients who experience physical weakness, Franklin found himself physically okay. But, his speech and cognitive abilities took a hit. He faced aphasia, which made it a struggle to comprehend and communicate with others. Franklin added, "I also had a lot of cognitive changes. It was extremely frustrating. I knew what I wanted to say, I knew I should be able to say things and I just couldn’t."

After a week of inpatient care, Franklin and his wife decided that he should join the Day Neuro Program at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) - Fort Worth. Franklin shared, "My wife found this program... She had heard that it was great and had done her research."

The physician-led therapy team collaborated with Franklin to create a treatment plan focused on speech therapy. This plan aimed to help him achieve his rehabilitation goals. He said, "I wanted to be able to get the correct words out and talk more smoothly... On my very first day, I felt right away that this was what I needed. I really liked the intensity of the program and the amount of therapy I was getting a day."

In addition to his hard work in the Day Neuro program, Franklin received valuable support at home from his wife and his five-year-old son. He revealed, "They both do vocabulary cards and speech cards with me at home to help me get better. They have both been really supportive... My wife was great at carrying over the speech therapy at home. I can’t imagine doing this without her."

Being part of a specialized program like Day Neuro meant Franklin had the chance to connect with fellow patients who shared similar experiences. He emphasized, "It has also been so good to be around other people that are going through the same things as I am so I can connect with them and we can support each other. Before I came here, I didn’t feel like I met anyone who had gone through what I have, and now I know many people that have. It helps to put things into perspective."

The steadfast support of his family and fellow patients motivated Franklin to stay committed to his journey of rehabilitation.

He admitted that the therapy activities were no walk in the park, saying, "It was all challenging... and I know even as I get better that each therapy will be as challenging as the one before it, but it’s all good for me and helping me." And that daily challenge paid off—Franklin noted, "I’ve gotten a lot better.”

As he neared the end of his time at the Day Neuro Program, Franklin reflected on the experience as overwhelmingly positive. He praised the program's responsiveness to his needs, sharing, "They’ve really worked with me... When I requested more speech, they made it happen." Franklin eagerly anticipated returning to his career as a realtor, expressing his genuine passion for helping people navigate significant steps in their lives.

Through this journey, Franklin learned to embrace both giving and accepting help. He acknowledged, "I’ve always relied on doing things myself. Now I know that I sometimes need help with things."