Patients & Families

In her own words: “Rehab Without Walls® has helped give me my life back”

For the Alternatives case studies—which, by the way, are one of our most popular features because they show Rehab Without Walls® in action—our writer interviews the patient and the interdisciplinary team members then crafts the case study to fit our established format. In this case, however, the patient we identified as having a good story to tell was not comfortable speaking to a writer. She still wanted the world to know about her experience so we asked her, instead, if she would be willing to put a few things in writing that our writer could then work with. What she sent us was so eloquent and so powerful that we decided to run it as is. Here is what one of our patients from the Sacramento area has to say about how Rehab Without Walls® changed her life.

“Rehab Without Walls® has helped give me my life back. I was a healthy young woman, working full time then—boom—one day it all changed. I experienced a stroke, seizures and blood clots in my lung, brain, heart, spleen and leg. I was only 25 years old. No one knew I had blood clots or what caused them. I was very, very mad and went into a deep, deep depression.

I tried outpatient therapy and it was all right, but I couldn’t get myself out of the house due to the depression. Besides, at outpatient therapy I had to throw balls into a barrel—too easy—I didn’t want to do that. I wanted harder things. I wanted more challenges. I was sleeping all the time. One day I had a high temperature and my husband took me to the hospital. I was terrified of the doctors and nurses because of what had happened in the past. The speech-language pathologist from my outpatient therapy helped me get started with Rehab Without Walls®. The neuropsychologist, Dr. Maria Rubino, came to my home. It was wonderful. Thank you God for her coming.

At home, I was comfy and could be myself. Because of the fear, I was tense when I went to the doctor. Maria talked to me about the problems I had had with speech therapy in the past and how my mouth wasn’t doing what my brain said and that I needed to relearn how to talk. Barbara, my physical therapist, used Kineiso tapes —a miracle! I’ve now got feeling and movement in my arm, leg and hand. For three years, my whole right side had been numb and now I can feel it when my husband tickles me. I can use a pen or a pencil to write and draw and use both hands to wash my hair, Before, my arm was limp when I walked. Now I can move both arms when I walk. My speech is better, too. At first I knew what I wanted to say but the words wouldn’t come out. I was determined to talk, however. I could only say two words after the stroke—“bonk” and “sauce”—babbling like a child and cussing without wanting to. Now I talk more, even on the telephone, and am much more comfortable with talking in general.

Going out into the community was hard because I am shy and didn’t want to leave the house. I joined the gym at my husband’s workplace and identified a place where I could volunteer and work with animals. My perspective is that animals are very important—they don’t judge, are kind and loving, and I can be myself with them. Terese, the social worker, helped a lot, too. I found her very relaxed and comforting. I was pessimistic and trying to deal with reality. It was hard to believe that what had happened to me was real. I had had a stroke. It wasn’t going away. Now I’ve accepted it and found a way to be more positive. I have a family history of depression—mom, dad, brother, sister. Terese showed me ways to deal. She also gave me a relaxation tape. All these tools help the depression to not last so long. They help with stress. I used to be stressed all the time. Now I’m not. Before, I wanted to work with animals but couldn’t see myself doing it. Now I know I can. I was stagnant. Now the world has opened up. Life has opened up. Thank you so much Rehab Without Walls®. It is awesome!”