Lawrence Little, an 83-year-old retired electrician hailing from Dripping Springs, Texas, has lived a fulfilling life alongside his wife of almost 63 years, Vernell. With four children, eight grandchildren and nearly three great-grandchildren, Lawrence enjoys spending time with family and tending to his yard.
One moment, he was sitting comfortably in his recliner. The next moment, he was rushed to Dell Seton on Red River in Austin. He had suffered a stroke and brain bleed, resulting in severe gait dysfunction, paralysis on his left side and dysphagia (swallowing difficulties). The medical team at Dell Seton worked to stabilize him. Lawrence required specialized rehabilitative care to regain his lost strength and independence.
Recovering from a stroke may be one of the greatest challenges a person will ever face. Lawrence's path to recovery led him to the Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) - Lakeway. Upon arrival at BSWIR – Lakeway, the physician-led rehabilitation team worked with Lawrence to put a treatment plan in place. He made his goals clear: "I want[ed] to be independent again and keep doing as I was before," he said. "I would like to travel to see our children and grand[children] and great[grandchildren] again soon. That means to Colorado Springs, Bellevue, WA, CT and Chino Valley, AZ."
His stroke left him with speech difficulties, walking difficulties, left arm and hand weakness, swallowing issues and confusion. Physical therapy helped him regain his posture and relearn how to walk by using the platform walker. Occupational therapy focused on his fine motor skills, while speech therapy guided him through swallowing exercises to transition away from thickened liquids gradually.
"They did a lot for my trunk control, endurance and balance," Lawrence stated. "They did a lot of dual tasking, like having me walk outside doing simulated yard activities while doing something cognitively challenging at the same time. [All of my therapists were] just wonderful to work with. They are the ones who got me to where I am today."
Midway through his stay at BSWIR - Lakeway, Lawrence found his stride. His speech improved, his walking became more confident and his positive personality reemerged. As he reached various milestones, including the removal of his catheter, improved diet and increased self-sufficiency in daily tasks, Lawrence's confidence increased.
As his time at BSWIR – Lakeway neared its end, Lawrence looked forward to simple pleasures he had temporarily lost – sitting in his recliner, showering in his bathroom and savoring a cup of coffee.
And, yes, his passion for electrical work continued to burn bright.
Grateful for the care he received, Lawrence's experience at BSWIR - Lakeway exceeded his expectations. He described it as a "10+ on a scale of 1-10. Thank you!"
Reflecting on his recovery, Lawrence shared his newfound wisdom: "Be patient, do not give up. Just be very patient and humble, and you will succeed. It takes time, love and care to get it done. Your body is remarkable. Always be humble and kind."