LuAnn's Story

LuAnn Porter after rehabilitation

Orthopedic rehabilitation 

For nearly 10 years, LuAnn Porter walked at least 10,000 steps a day, so she was deeply familiar with hard work and resilience. Still, the 67-year-old could not have guessed that a more serious challenge would come right before her retirement.

"A month before I was supposed to retire, I fell and broke my hip," she recalled. "After I rehabbed from that, it turned out I needed back surgery... I rehabbed at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation [BSWIR] - Lakeway, which was wonderful! I had a quick recovery and left being able to use my rollator [walker] at home."

However, LuAnn's incision site got infected, so she had to go back into surgery. "I stayed at an LTACH [long-term acute care hospital] where all I did was lay in the bed all day without rehab, so my husband and I pushed to move back to BSWIR - Lakeway," she said.

When she returned to BSWIR - Lakeway following her surgery, LuAnn faced an emotional rollercoaster—weeks of bed rest at the long-term acute care hospital had taken their toll.

"When I first got to BSWIR - Lakeway, I was confused, scared and did not know where I was," she related. "I was angry that I was unable to just get up and walk. I often became overwhelmed with emotions, which frequently drove me to tears. I kept wanting to just give up." But with the support of her therapists and her family, LuAnn began to rediscover her grit and strength.

"My husband and I both agreed that this hospital is the best one around," she exclaimed. "I was previously admitted here and had a very successful recovery despite multiple medical issues." The rehabilitation team at BSWIR - Lakeway worked with LuAnn to develop a treatment plan that included physical therapy activities to strengthen her body and increase her endurance and activity tolerance.

It wasn't long before LuAnn started marking her recovery milestones. The parallel bars, a once daunting challenge, became her favorite therapy. Her first major realization was the importance of maintaining a forward posture, which simplified her transfers and walking. LuAnn recalls, "When I learned to stay forward, everything clicked."

"My rehab team showed me "tough love" when I thought I could not do something," she remembered fondly. "Along with my family, [they] encouraged me to stop saying that I could not do something ... I think that's something that everyone needs to hear," she says.

LuAnn's family played a pivotal role throughout her journey. Regular video calls with her sons and her dog, Buddy, lifted her spirits, while Mick attended her sessions, encouraging her every step of the way.

Describing her overall experience at BSWIR - Lakeway, LuAnn says, "It's been wonderful. Everyone here is so nice and works really hard with you. They never let you down. They are always right there when you call them for help. That's the main thing - you guys are always there for your patients."

For others navigating similar journeys, LuAnn offers advice based on her own experience: "I met someone with an injured arm that she could hardly move. I could tell that she was almost in tears."

She continued, "As people were leaving group, I told her 'Please do me a favor. You've only been here three days and you told me when you first came in here that you could not move or do anything. Look at you now, three days later. If you start concentrating and do everything that the therapists ask you to do, you are going to be out here in no time.' Afterward, she took my hand and said 'thank you, I needed to hear that so bad.'"

Upon her discharge, LuAnn looked forward to returning home with Mick and Buddy. She was eager to continue her progress and could not wait to pet her sweet dog and work on improving her walking with her rollator.

She also shared her favorite quote that sustained her through her journey: "We fall. We break. We fail. But then we rise, we heal, we overcome."