Jacqueline's Story

Jacqueline Haskins at rehabilitation


Jacqueline Haskins, 65, was talking with a friend on the phone when she felt a difference in her voice. She then lost her balance and couldn't sit or stand upright. Jacqueline tried calling her family, but she couldn't form the words. Luckily, her daughter heard her and immediately called 911.

At St. David's Round Rock Medical Center, doctors diagnosed a stroke, got her into surgery and removed a blood clot from her brain. Afterwards, Jacqueline's speech was slurred and she had trouble moving - unable to walk or use her left arm. She was in a weakened state, but as a mom and wife who cares for a husband with Alzheimer's, she was determined to walk and talk again and return home to her tight-knit family.

Jacqueline and her family chose Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) – Lakeway for her rehabilitation and recovery. Her care team took her through physical, occupational and speech therapy to regain her balance, motion and speech functionality.

Physical therapy focused on gait training on the parallel bars using a Thera band wrap assist, which supports the ankle, knee and hips during gait training and transfer training with a hemi walker to improve her balance. Jacqueline loves music, so her team played upbeat tunes to encourage participation and lift her mood. "The physical therapist pushed me, especially when I was tired," she said.

Jacqueline knew she was making progress when she could move her foot. "I woke up from a dream where I moved my foot and it moved and I said, 'Hey, it moved!' So I kept doing it and called my daughter at 2 a.m." From there, she took the advice of her therapists and continued working hard to move the rest of her leg.

Occupational therapy helped her wrap her arm against her body to avoid interfering with other therapeutic exercises. They worked a lot with her affected arm on weight bearing to increase muscular activation, using adaptive utensils and equipment for eating and basic standing and balance activities to improve ADLs such as lower body dressing. She completed sessions focusing on toilet transfers and utilizing proper techniques.

Speech therapy helped retrain Jacqueline's throat and facial muscles, making swallowing and talking easier. Within a few weeks, she was able to eat the foods she had been missing. Originally admitted on a pureed diet, speech therapy helped to retrain Jacqueline’s throat and facial muscles, making swallowing and talking easier. She discharged being able to eat soft and bite-sized foods.

In addition, therapists did extensive stroke education with her to help her understand the signs and symptoms of stroke to reduce her risk of recurrent stroke. Included was education on her current medications to help her practice strategies to manage her medications at home.

Jacqueline is looking forward to walking, becoming more active and moving on to the next phase of her recovery. Before she heads home, she is transferring to a skilled nursing facility, but she hopes to make it to outpatient therapy to refine her newly regained skills.

When reminiscing on her experience at BSWIR – Lakeway, she recalls it was "GREAT! I really liked the level of emotional support… I feel like my physical therapist, occupational therapists, therapy techs and nursing staff all really went above and beyond to support me. Especially on the days that I felt totally alone."

For those facing an experience similar to Jacqueline's, she offers advice. "Be supportive of the person going through it because your support means the world. Be there for other people as well, even if you're having a hard time yourself. Be confident in yourself and work as hard as possible! Never say you can't!"