A sudden stroke while out with friends put 42-year-old Robert Howell in a difficult position.
One evening, during a dinner with friends, Robert suddenly collapsed – paralyzed on his right side, with slurred speech and a drooping face. Rushed to Harris Methodist Downtown Fort Worth, medical professionals diagnosed him with a hemorrhagic stroke on the left side of his brain.
After a series of tests and scans, Robert faced numerous challenges stemming from his stroke, including right-sided paralysis, aphasia, severe fatigue, balance changes and cognitive impairment. Everyday tasks became huge challenges, robbing him of his ability to walk and hindering the functionality of his right hand.
Seeking the best possible rehabilitation care, Robert chose Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) – Fort Worth and following its Day Neuro Program, recommended by a trusted family friend who had experienced their expertise firsthand. With the help of a highly skilled team of therapists, Robert embarked on his journey to recovery, determined to regain his independence and the ability to walk again.
During his inpatient rehabilitation, Robert's focus centered on improving his balance, a critical stepping stone towards reclaiming his mobility. Although he initially struggled to walk independently, the encouragement from the therapists kept his spirits high. Their innovative therapies and personalized care propelled him forward, and gradually, Robert found himself taking independent steps without assistance.
"Everyone was helpful and pushed me through each one of my sessions," he said. "Every day someone I knew was there and kept me on track. They really challenged me and pushed me in different ways to get me to where I am now."
Whether it was practicing walking on different surfaces, engaging in virtual reality simulations, or improving vital daily skills, each therapy session presented an opportunity for growth and progress. His therapy team could see the motivation in Robert, and he pushed beyond his limits to fuel his determination to succeed.
Robert's big moment marked a turning point in his recovery. Seeing his right arm and toes move for the first time after the stroke was emotional and proved he was making progress, inspiring him to keep improving.
From this journey, Robert has gained a new understanding of what really matters in life. "I feel like a better person than when I was when I first came into Day Neuro," he recalled of his journey. "I feel like I can empathize with people more and can relate to those with disabilities."
Looking ahead, Robert eagerly anticipated his transition to outpatient rehabilitation, where he planned to refine the fine motor skills of his right side and apply the lessons learned during his hospital stay.
Robert left this advice for anyone going through a similar situation, "Keep working hard. Stick to it. Take a step back and look at how far you have come as an individual. You have to put in the hard work and you have to believe that you will get better."