"I noticed I could not open my phone," recalled Marian Solis, a 58-year-old childcare professional. Believing it to be a temporary issue, Marian went about her day. The following day, she encountered further difficulties. "I could not get toilet paper that day, I could not get dressed that day. I was getting sweaty when I was trying to get dressed," she said. Nevertheless, Marian was determined to drop her son off at work.
As she rode in the passenger seat while her son drove to work, Marian was solely concerned about his punctuality. Upon arrival, she assured him she would be fine as he exited the driver's seat. However, when she attempted to open the passenger door, it remained shut. Marian was experiencing a stroke.
"Some nice man parked next to me," she said, "He was asking if I was okay. He notified emergency and my son as I couldn't move.
Emergency services rushed Marian to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple. When she arrived, she was unable to use her right hand and right leg. She was also having difficulty speaking. Once doctors had stabilized her, they recommended the expert staff at Baylor Scott & White Institute of Rehabilitation (BSWIR) – Lakeway for the next part of her recovery.
The rehab team at BSWIR – Lakeway worked with Marian to design a therapy and care plan to help her meet her goals. "My goals were to walk and use my right hand—to get as normal as I was," she said. To do this, she would attend physical and occupational therapy and spend time with a speech language pathologist. Physical therapy strengthened her muscles and helped reactivate the right side of her body. "The therapists went above and beyond their job with me," she said. "I told them I would do anything they asked," she said.
In occupational therapy, Marian worked on controlling her right hand and completing daily tasks like brushing her teeth and getting dressed. "I could not even grip at first," she said, "Now I can start gripping. Strength is coming back." The speech language pathologists helped Marian regain control of her speech and improve and strengthen her memory. "The team was awesome," she said.
A turning point in her therapy occurred when her doctor administered a steroid shot in her knee, alleviating her pain and enabling her to begin walking. "I told them that I wasn't just going to start walking but that I would be dancing. When I came here, I couldn't even stand, and I wasn't even talking about walking," she said.
Marian's determination to get back to her students and the support of her family pushed her to keep working hard. "My family lives far away, but they supported me through calls and FaceTime. They were there in spirit with me." She also fondly remembers the nursing staff. "The nursing staff was so sweet and encouraging. I can see that these people work in the right place; they are so good at their job, they have a calling for [it]," she said.
Marian is preparing to transition from BSWIR – Lakeway to a nursing facility, where she will continue her therapy and mentally prepare for her eventual return home. Her time at BSWIR – Lakeway taught her "that I am a very strong woman, this was not going to put me down," she said, "From the moment I got here, I knew that this place is where I needed to be. If they told me to walk two feet, I did three, if I was told to ride the bike for 10 minutes, I did 11. I was ready to give my all."
With this part of her rehabilitation behind her, Marian had some advice for those living through similar circumstances. "In a situation like mine, don't give up," she said. "Everything will fall into place like it should—just don't give up."