Steve's Story

Steve Spicer at rehabilitation.

Medically Complex

Steve Spicer is a family man through-and-through. He has two adult children and a young granddaughter, Natalie Mae, whom he adores. Steve loves casually spending time with his friends and family at his favorite spot -- the backyard patio. For more than 20 years, Steve has worked for Frisco Independent School district as facility and grounds maintenance supervisor. Constantly on the go, Steve is used to walking five or more miles a day during a typical day at work.

In August, Steve was hospitalized at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Frisco for a critically low sodium levels. He spent five days there as doctors worked to stabilize him, then was released with orders for outpatient physical therapy. Everything seemed fine, a big relief because Natalie Mae’s second birthday was just around the corner and he wasn’t going to miss it for the world.

A few days later, Steve knew something wasn’t right and called his sister, Nancy. She noticed his speech sounded weak and unclear and urged him to go to the emergency room. Over the next few days, Steve’s condition worsened with deteriorating neurologic symptoms. Six days after going to the ER, Steve was completely paralyzed in all his limbs.

Steve was transferred to the ICU. The diagnosis was Osmotic Demyelination Syndrome, a rare complication that affects the nervous system and was associated with the correction of his previously low sodium levels. The initial prognosis wasn’t good.

Steve underwent a five-day plasma exchange treatment. On day two, Steve became more alert and able to answer questions. On day three, Steve was able to sit up on the edge of the bed. By day five, he could stand with assistance. Steve and his family were thrilled with this turnaround, but there was still much rehabilitative care that needed to be done. For that, Steve was transferred to Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) – Dallas where he continued his recovery journey.

Upon admission, Steve required moderate to maximum assistance for mobility and activities of daily living. He also had difficulty swallowing and speaking. Through intensive occupational, physical and speech therapies, Steve made excellent progress. He was walking in a weight-supported gait trainer after just a few days and graduated to a rolling walker in 10 days. Through his therapy sessions, Steven improved his mobility, endurance and strength. Speech therapy focused on improving his swallowing muscles through a variety of exercises. This led to one of Steve’s favorite moments -- when he was upgraded to a regular diet. His puréed meals were replaced with a burger and fries, delivered personally by his speech therapist.

After two weeks at BSWIR - Dallas, Steve’s therapy team had him walking with minimal supervision and accomplishing activities of daily living. On the day of his discharge, Steve was able to walk out of the hospital and straight to his patio to be with family and give a big hug to Natalie Mae.