19-year-old Kyle Hargrove had an ordinary start to his spring break trip, but his world took a sudden and severe turn when he woke up one day and found himself grappling with muscle weakness from Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Kyle endured five rounds of Plasmapheresis treatment over a 16-day hospital stay as he battled for his health.
Kyle's journey was marked by various challenges, primarily related to balance and strength, especially in his left leg. His determination to regain independence led him to Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) - Frisco. Under the guidance of a physician-led care team, Kyle embarked on a comprehensive rehabilitation program that included physical, occupational and recreational therapies.
His goals were simple: to walk again and gain full independence. Kyle's rehabilitation team understood his determination and began with physical therapy, where he began with a walker due to issues with foot dragging while walking. Swiftly gaining strength and coordination in both legs, he progressed to walking without assistance. To prepare him for a successful return to intramural sports at college, therapists included shuttle and agility ladder exercises and treadmill training, which simulated the hilly terrain of his campus.
Occupational therapy targeted Kyle's decreased hand coordination and strength. Through engaging exercises such as wrist and hand strengthening circuits, he honed his grip and wrist abilities. An inventive approach included squeezing oranges to enhance his grip strength, a task that proved not only beneficial but also quite refreshing.
A true testament to his winning personality, recreational therapy played a pivotal role in Kyle's rehabilitation journey. An aspiring golfer prior to his illness, he embraced outdoor leisure activities like ladder ball golf and bocce ball to address endurance, gait on uneven surfaces and hand function. This dedication to his interests allowed him to regain a sense of normalcy and joy.
For just under two months, Kyle's positive mindset served as a driving force throughout his rehabilitation journey. Despite having experienced an unexpected onset of this illness, he remained focused on moving forward and maintaining a hopeful outlook. This optimism, coupled with the support of his family and friends, contributed significantly to his remarkable progress.
Looking back on his time at BSWIR - Frisco, Kyle praised the friendly and energetic atmosphere that made therapy enjoyable. He shared, "Everyone was friendly and had energy that increased the mood of everyone in the room. They made a tedious process fun."
He emphasized that therapy need not be a chore but rather a journey to be embraced: "Therapy can be almost anything, so make it fun," he exclaimed.
As Kyle prepares to return to college and pursue his passions, he offers valuable insight to other patients and their families, demonstrating that with dedication, even the toughest challenges can be transformed into triumphs.