Laurie Becnel, 58, lives in Carriere, Mississippi with her husband and works as an X-ray technician and an outreach coordinator at a church. In her free time, she enjoys planning parties. After attending church with her family, Laurie was feeling slightly dizzy but shrugged it off and attended a party later in the day with her family. At the party, she was holding her new grandbaby when she noticed her right arm and leg felt weak and heavy. She continued to feel progressively weaker, and when she and her husband arrived home after the party, they decided to drive to the local hospital ER for evaluation. After testing and an inconclusive diagnosis, she was released home.
However, upon waking the next morning, Laurie could not move her right side. Her sister picked her up and took her to the Ochsner Hospital ER in Slidell, Louisiana where a brain scan revealed she had suffered a stroke. She was admitted to the hospital for two days. Her hospital team then recommended she transfer to an inpatient rehabilitation hospital to complete her recovery. Laurie’s niece, a physical therapist, started researching hospitals and recommended Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital.
When Laurie was admitted, she couldn’t walk, had issues with her speech and couldn’t manage her self-care needs. She immediately set a goal to be able to walk and take care of herself again. In physical therapy, Laurie strengthened her leg muscles and worked on coordination with therapy bands, stretching, walking in the parallel bars, walking with a walker and with the Ekso skeleton, a state-of-the-art wearable robotic device.
The occupational therapy team taught Laurie how to use adaptive equipment for self-care such as getting dressed. Her therapists also worked with Laurie on stretches for improving range of motion and using a virtual reality program to improve movement and control in her right arm.
When asked if she had a turning point, Laurie said lifting both arms up above her head on day three was a motivating accomplishment. Laurie also said her family’s support was critical to her recovery, stating, “They were supportive and attended family training to be able to help me when I got home. They were with me every day to make sure I didn’t need anything.”
Asked about her experience, Laurie responded, “I loved everything about being at Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital. When I was tired and struggling with motivation, everyone rallied around me and encouraged me to keep going.”
Three weeks after admitting to Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital, Laurie was ready to return home. On that fine day, she was able to walk up to 200 feet with a walker and attend to all her basic self-care needs. She looked forward to going home and getting back to her family and the activities she enjoys.