Spinal cord injury
Tyrone Davenport, a 57-year-old truck driver and devoted Dallas Cowboy fan, arrived at Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation (BSWIR) - Dallas, facing one of the most challenging periods of his life.
Originally from Mississippi, Tyrone served as an aircraft refueler in the military from 1985 to 1995 before settling in Texas. After back surgery about 10 years ago, Tyrone fought with intermittent weakness and tolerable aches and pains, which limited his walking. He began to use a walker. Recently, his weakness was leading to frequent falls.
His doctors diagnosed him with spinal stenosis and tetraperesis (weakness in all four limbs). Tyrone was then admitted to Methodist Addison where he underwent a few more surgeries to alleviate the pain.
As someone who had always been fiercely independent, his medical condition hit him hard. Admitted to BSWIR – Dallas after a recommendation from his spinal surgeon, Tyrone reiterated his desire to be independent. He wanted to live alone without the fear of falling, get back on his feet and to resume work. But the road ahead was not going to be easy.
"After surgery, I couldn't even roll over on my own," Tyrone recalls. Rehabilitation therapy at BSWIR - Dallas, however, changed everything.
He worked on rebuilding his strength and independence through rigorous physical and occupational therapy. Therapists assisted Tyrone with exercises to regain his motor endurance and taught him safe techniques for everyday tasks. Standing frames improved his posture, and he progressed from weight-assisted treadmill training to walking on the ground with the assistance of EKSO robotics.
There were also those small yet significant moments of triumph. The first time he used the restroom independently, Tyrone felt a rush of joy. "It's strange that the smallest thing can bring such joy," he remarked.
In addition to the clinical interventions, the support from the staff and therapists played a crucial role in Tyrone's recovery. Everyone at BSWIR - Dallas seemed to know him, encouraging him at every step.
"Everyone has been very encouraging. Everybody knows my name for some reason and I don't know half the people here. I would have therapists (who are not my therapists) walk up to me and say something like, 'I notice you have been working hard.' Every time that happened, it made my day. It made me feel good because there are so many people here and still they notice you," Tyrone mentioned.
In between therapies, Tyrone bonded with his therapists. He fondly recalls both his physical and occupational therapists for their relatability and commitment. They didn't let him cut corners, ensuring every task was executed properly. The result? Tyrone found himself autonomously adopting safer methods in his daily routine.
His nephew visited him every other day, encouraging him to stay motivated and actively engaged in training sessions to learn safe ways to assist Tyrone. His sisters, though living out of state, remained a constant pillar of support. They frequently connected, easing Tyrone's mind during those challenging times. Prepared for the journey home, Tyrone looks forward to simple joys like cooking his food and seeing friends. He plans to continue his rehabilitation through the Day Neuro program at BSWIR - Dallas.
Reflecting on his rehabilitation journey, Tyrone offers valuable insight for others in similar situations: "I have learned to be patient with myself, temper my expectations and not be discouraged at the same time about how quickly things will recover. If you can't do things you were able to do, don't be discouraged; you will be able to do it in time if you keep working hard."