November 25, 2014

Therapy helps stroke patient regain her life

Sandee Linde couldn’t respond to her husband’s question.

The Norfolk couple recently had returned from a late afternoon outing and were settling into their home for the evening when she suddenly felt ill. Instead of changing her clothes, Mrs. Linde made her way to the living room, where her husband asked if everything was all right.

“I said, ‘Do you want me to call 911?’ She said yes,” Marlin Linde said. “That was about all we had of her talking for quite a while.”

Mrs. Linde suffered a stroke on Jan. 2, 2014. It stole her ability to speak and left her paralyzed on the right side of her body. Now, nearly 11 months later, the Lindes' plans to keep their annual tradition of hosting Thanksgiving dinner, and they are expressing gratitude for the therapists who helped her through the recovery process.

“This has been honestly the best place I have ever been in my life. It’s just beautiful,” Mrs. Linde said of Faith Regional Health Services Rehabilitation Therapies, where she received occupational, physical and speech therapy. 
Mrs. Linde spent the first week after her stroke at a hospital in Omaha and then returned to Norfolk to go through several weeks of the Norfolk hospital’s acute rehabilitation unit.

Justin Young, director of rehabilitation services at Faith Regional, said the effects of Mrs. Linde’s strokes were severe. When she left the acute rehab unit and began doing outpatient therapy, she was still in the primary stages of stroke recovery, he said.

“They were pretty severe,” Young said of the effects left by the stroke. “No mobility ... right side affect, handwriting, all of those fine motor skills, mobility, speech. It pretty much put you at a point where you were dependent upon everything.”

But after about eight weeks of outpatient therapy, Mrs. Linde had recovered enough of her speaking ability to tell Young to call her by her first name. Her recovery since has progressed by leaps and bounds.
Although she still stumbles over a few words, Mrs. Linde speaks clearly and well. She also is able to walk without assistance again and also is back to participating in some of her favorite activities — playing bridge and taking trips.

“Some things I still can’t do; little things with this hand,” she said, holding up her right arm.

Mrs. Linde is now in the maintenance phase of her therapy. She visits Faith Regional’s rehab services on its east campus on a regular basis to maintain the progress she has made since suffering the stroke.

Young credits Mrs. Linde’s recovery to her decision to stay in the acute rehabilitation unit for the first few weeks after the stroke. He said the intense therapy she underwent at that time helped therapists identify which areas needed the most work and allowed her to get a jump start on her recovery.

He also credits her positive attitude and perseverance; Mrs. Linde didn’t miss a single day of therapy.

“I guess what I admire about her is her determination,” Young said. “A lot of people, it’s like, ‘This is what I’m dealt, and I’ll deal with it.’ Well, she wasn’t OK with that. She continued to work hard and to get where she’s at today.”

“When she said she never missed a day, she didn’t,” Mr. Linde added. “She wanted to get better, and she did.”

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