Ranching in the small town of Churky, Texas was more than a livelihood for 83-year-old Richard Randolph—it was a legacy. When he saw smoke on the farm, he immediately rushed to take care of it by covering it with a small blanket. Quickly exhausted, he fell down and endured severe burns on his legs.
Time seemed to slow as he reached out for help. He called for his brother to get him, but he was confused and gave the wrong location. Fortunately, a helicopter arrived, whisking Richard to Dell Trauma Hospital.
"I had significant burns on my legs," he said. For over two months, surgeons operated on him multiple times, bringing him close to amputation. But his hospital care team saved his legs. At that time, walking remained a distant memory for Richard. Once he was medically stable, his physicians recommended an intensive inpatient rehabilitation program to help him regain his mobility and independence.
The path to recovery led Richard to Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) - Lakeway because of the ringing endorsement of his daughter and granddaughter. "They visited the place and fell in love," he shared.
The rehabilitation team at BSWIR – Lakeway worked with Richard and his family to put a treatment plan in place. While the surroundings were comforting, Richard had a singular focus: "Learn how to walk and get in shape to go home."
Physical therapy activities aimed to strengthen his body and increase his endurance. His therapists introduced innovative techniques, pushing him to get better. “I had an excellent therapist that showed me lot of different ways to stand and walk,” he recalled.
Richard embraced every therapy session, soon mastering the art of showering independently and breaking his walking records. A major turning point came when he was provided with an Ankle-Foot Orthosis (AFO) after the healing of a surgical procedure on his foot. This support enabled him to walk with renewed confidence.
Within two weeks of therapy, Richard achieved what had once seemed impossible—walking 110 feet.
Richard recognized the support of his family, who visited frequently, assisting with transitions and decision-making. "My family has really taken care of me and have come to visit me often," he acknowledged.
As he prepared to leave the hospital, Richard looked forward to simple pleasures—riding his Kawasaki four-wheeler, watching the deer and overseeing his cattle. Reflecting on his time at BSWIR – Lakeway, he said, "[It’s been] excellent; the food, the nurses, therapists and doctors are wonderful. I would recommend it to anybody."
When asked if he discovered anything during his journey, Richard said, “The time I have been in all of the hospitals, I have learned something. I think I learned to be a nicer and better person. Be nice to the nurses, therapists and doctors and in the long run, you will come out way ahead.”
And with that, Richard Randolph, the rancher from Churky, prepared to embrace the familiar comforts of home, with gratitude for every step he would soon take.