It started like any other day for 44-year-old John Ney, until he got to work. When he arrived, his right leg refused to cooperate while climbing the stairs. Determined to carry on, he finally reached his desk, but his right hand lost control of the computer mouse. Sensing something was terribly wrong, John managed to contact his wife but was horrified to learn he couldn't speak.
"When I tried to call, I realized I could not talk," John recalled. "My vision was getting worse and worse... By the time someone got there, I was unable to sit up."
As his vision deteriorated, he was rushed to Dell Seton Medical Center. Even after an MRI, the cause of his condition remained elusive. John spent a week in the ICU before being transferred to the telemetry unit (where he was constantly monitored) for another week. Finally, it was revealed that he had suffered a left medullary stroke in his brain stem.
Left with vestibular issues, weakness and coordination problems on his right side, John found himself confined to a wheelchair during his early days at Central Texas Rehab. Slurring his words when fatigued, he faced immense exhaustion. Looking for a place where he could receive a comprehensive range of therapies, he and his family chose Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) – Lakeway's Day Neuro Program to help him regain his abilities and independence.
"BSWIR - Lakeway's Day Neuro has all three disciplines and a neuro specialty," John said. "I was very fortunate to find [this place]."
Indeed, the intense, six-hour-a-day outpatient Day Neuro Program at Lakeway was the right fit for John. Working with the physician-led care team, John outlined his goals, which included returning to work, driving and regaining a sense of normalcy.
Given his goals, his physical therapists introduced John to treatment sessions focused on improving his stamina, strength and walking skills. In order to rebuild his core muscles and balance, therapists included exercises like leg lifts, bridges and twists to help him regain his strength.
"[It was] lots and lots of work, building up endurance, cardio and strengthening with physical therapy and walking," he recalled. "It is hard work, but it is fun and helps build up the endurance."
Occupational therapy helped him relearn essential daily skills, while speech therapy utilized engaging games and a supportive group environment.
"I have learned about so many new things and have been building my collection of games at home based on what we use in Day Neuro," John said.
Reflecting on his progress, John fondly recalled the "ah-ha!" moment when he transitioned from using a walker to relying on a walking stick.
Throughout his rehabilitation, John's family played an integral role in his recovery. "I could not have done this without my family," he exclaimed. "They bring me every day because I cannot drive, support me throughout my recovery, challenge me on the weeks and encourage me to problem solve and work on my skills."
As John neared the completion of his Day Neuro Program, he eagerly looked forward to returning to work and reestablishing a sense of normalcy. Continuing physical therapy and vestibular therapy will further aid his journey.
Describing his overall rehabilitation experience, John expressed gratitude for the friendly and supportive environment, stating, "It was great...everyone is so good and friendly. I love the games and everyone has been so supportive. The exercises have helped a lot to expand my skills and get me back to where I was."
For those patients and families looking into the Day Neuro Program, John left this insight, "It is a great environment for recovery and healing. You get to know people and it is an overall great place. I've really enjoyed my time here."