Alex's Story

Alex walking between parallel bars during a therapy session.

Alex Pikes Jr., 81, is a resident of Montpelier, Louisiana. He lives close to his daughter, Theresa, and leads a very active lifestyle tending his garden, mowing and brush hogging his property and visiting with friends and family. One spring day, which started like any other, Alex began experiencing some dizziness and weakness on his right side. It didn’t take long for him to realize something was wrong so he headed to a local hospital. CT scans only indicated that Alex’s oxygen levels were low so he was sent home with some supplemental oxygen.

Unfortunately, his condition continued to worsen. A few weeks later, Alex’s symptoms had gotten so bad that he knew he needed more help. He went to a different local hospital, then was transferred to a more specialized hospital for further neurological evaluations. There, an MRI showed he had a stroke.

As a result of the stroke, Alex could not walk, had significant weakness from the waist down and his routine self-care activities had become incredibly challenging. With input from his children, Alex chose Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital for the next step his recovery journey.

Alex set goals that included resuming all his daily activities before the stroke, such as tending his garden, walking independently and performing self-care activities at his prior level of function. To help him achieve his goals, he began a regimen of physical and occupational therapy.

Physical therapy activities included walking in parallel bars, practicing climbing stairs, walking on uneven surfaces and practicing turns. He also did exercises to improve balance and lower body strength and was soon able to climb 22 stairs and walk 300 feet using only the rolling walker.

Alex participated in occupational therapy, learning how to resume all of his daily living activities with greater independence. Therapists provided education and safety training on dressing techniques and getting in and out of the shower. They also worked with him on increasing his upper body strength and endurance so he would be prepared to return home.

When recalling a milestone or turning point in his rehab journey, Alex states, “The different exercises are what changed my whole body. When I was able to stand with the walker, I knew I would get better.”  Family support also aided his recovery. His children, Theresa and Richie, visited frequently and participated in family training sessions.  Alex said phone calls and visits from family, “inspired me because before I left home I didn’t think I’d ever walk again.”

After one month of rehabilitation, Alex was ready to return home, get back to his garden and just enjoying being out in the sun. He also recently celebrated his 82nd birthday. He credits the staff at Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital for a great deal of his recovery, stating, “You have top-notch therapists and doctors here; they gave me the confidence to get better.”