The Healing Power of Encouragement

July 29, 2021

Lisa Walker is a 56-year-old who was a school nurse for 14 years. She loves being outdoors and spends her retirement doing yard work, gardening and tending to her horses with her husband Aaron. These pleasant days were abruptly put on hold, however, after she suffered a stroke from which she is still recovering. Fortunately, she was treated at Texoma Medical Center, where she continues to receive ongoing support through the hospital’s stroke support group.

A Significant Stroke

Lisa was feeling exhausted in the days leading up to her stroke. Being a diabetic, she initially assumed her blood sugar was low. The day of the event, she came home from work and checked her blood sugar level and found it was normal. “I sat down and got to feeling bad. One of the dogs was fretting,” she recalls. “I tried to get up and couldn’t. My husband took one look and said we were going to the hospital. We got in the truck and went to TMC.”

Lisa's hospital doctor and neurologist informed her that she had suffered a significant stroke. Upon arrival to the hospital, the TMC stroke care team performed imaging to locate the blockage, evaluated her neurological status and closely monitored her vital signs. “They were so good and immediately took me in and started working on me. The ER doctor, all of them were super,” Walker says. Unfortunately, Lisa was not a candidate for IV tPA or thrombectomy.

Rehabilitation After Stroke

Walker was in the intensive care unit for five days, and then spent three weeks at the Reba McEntire® Center for Rehabilitation for physical, occupational and speech therapy. She continued her recovery through the outpatient rehab program at TMC Bonham Hospital. “All the nurses were outstanding and very caring,” she recalls. “My advice to anyone who has a stroke is to do as much rehab as you can, especially in the beginning. The more rehab you get, the better off you are. Push yourself as far as you can go, and then some.”

Stroke Support Group

One aspect of Walker’s care she most appreciates is the hospital’s stroke support group, to which she is still a member. “It’s nice being able to talk to people who have been through it, who know, who are still going through it,” she says. “Ongoing support makes all the difference. They are sweet and give me motivation.”

Jenny Reeves, TMC’s Stroke Service Coordinator and organizer of the support group, was there from day one to help Walker through her stroke care and recovery. Reeves answered all of Walker’s questions and helped reassure her husband everything was going well. “She even came in on her day off to check on me, and she prayed with us. She’s like family,” Walker says.

Making Progress

Nearly two years after her stroke, Walker has regained some use of her left arm but is still working to regain strength and use of her left hand. She walks with the help of a cane. “I still have a long way to go,” she says. “It’s an ongoing process, but anytime I feel discouraged, my husband and the support group tell me how they see the progress I’ve made. Encouragement is a big part of it.”

Regarding the care and ongoing support she received at TMC, Walker says, “I would absolutely recommend TMC to anyone who’s had a stroke. Caring people, knowledgeable staff and doctors, very supportive. They also care about the family members there with you. The whole operation, the hospital, rehab and the support group, is family oriented. I’m very pleased with my experience, and I’m grateful that God's grace and mercy is with me though this journey.”

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