Robert Jenkins, a 55-year-old widower with one son, retired from owning and operating a siding installation business which had kept him very busy in New Orleans post-Katrina. In his newfound free time, Robert was actively remodeling the house he inherited from his parents including installing floors and working on unique carpentry projects using 150-year-old driftwood and cypress wood. His six-acre property also features a garage shop where he enjoys repairing vehicles. Additionally, his active lifestyle included spending time on the Bogue Chitto River fishing, swimming and tubing down the river.
However, life changed dramatically for Robert when, alone on his property doing some yardwork, he suffered a stroke. He laid there for about two hours until his son found him and called 911. An ambulance transported Robert to the hospital where he was treated for the stroke. Upon stabilizing, he was transferred to Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital to continue his recovery.
Upon admission, Robert was still very weak and not able to communicate as a result of his stroke. He was also unable to manage basic self-care. He received physical therapy to build his overall strength as well as to exercise and improve the functionality on his right side. His therapists worked with him to improve his standing balance and to teach him how to re-incorporate his right leg for standing and walking. To aid in the recovery, therapists used an electrical stimulation device on Robert’s right leg to send low-level electrical impulses to the nerves to enhance the muscle response.
Occupational therapy worked with Robert to learn new ways to approach basic self-care. They also performed daily range of motion exercises and used electrical stimulation to facilitate rehabilitation of the muscles of his right arm. Simultaneously, speech therapy worked daily to help Robert improve his communication skills through speech exercises. They focused on improving cognitive processing and swallowing skills.
Robert summarized his progress after 28 days at Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital stating, “Everything has improved since I’ve been here.” He is now able to move his right side, his speech has improved allowing for better communication, and he regained his independence for self-care tasks such as eating, brushing teeth, bathing and getting dressed.
Preparing to return home, Robert shared that he couldn’t wait to enjoy his property again and he looks forward to just sitting, relaxing and seeing his family and friends. He also set his next goal to continue getting stronger so he can resume maintaining his property and working in his shop.
For others recovering from a stroke, Robert said, “You just can’t give up, it has been a wonderful experience here at Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital.”