Wednesday, June 13, 2012

One Stroky’s Journey: Making a difference

Among the joyful blessings of my stroke – yes blessings – are the individuals who have contributed to my therapy. Leading the way are gifted therapists. But there is an additional cast of characters that has made a difference, too.


The techs who work fulltime and part time with Ocean Springs Hospital Neuro Rehab range from young adults to others who have already retired from one or more previous occupations. The techs are the individuals who escort me in and out of the gym, check me in, take my blood pressure and record pain levels and any dizziness.

Along with my therapist they hold my gait belt and help bolster my confidence when I am wobbling around attempting a new movement far out of my comfort zone.

They offer a spirit-lifting “Good Morning, Mrs. Skupien,” trade tidbits about weekend plans and sprinkle humor and encouragement throughout each session. They add to an atmosphere that encourages hard work and persistence even when discouragement lurks ready to pounce.

Interns from university advanced degree therapy programs are also among the contributors to my recovery. Matt and Abby represented my introduction to the next generation of physical therapists. They spent a term mentored by my therapist Ashley. Although their internships were not during the same time, they both worked with me during a period when I was moving toward a new plateau in my recovery.

Abby, left,  and me
Ashley led them into assessing my deficits and then had them develop exercises to reactivate and strengthen weakened nerves and muscles and to combat negative movement patterns caused by the stroke. It was exciting to be a part of the firsthand experience that an internship provided these gifted young people.

I am in the 14th month of stroke-recovery rehab. I am thankful that I can continue therapy. Improvement comes in tiny increments, but it is coming!


  1. Do you still see any of these wonderful people? I think you have been mostly cut lose, but will you keep in touch?

  2. What wonderful portraits--in pictures and words--of these people.

  3. all of the photos are magnificent and the story is even better. this is a great tribute to them and a thank you also for all the help they give you. thanks for introducing us to them.

  4. These beautiful people deserve recognition which I am sure they seldom get out of their work environment.
    Lovely job of giving them high fives and kudos. You can see it in their faces that they belong where they are.

  5. Sometimes, the therapists just don't get enough recognition in one's journey towards wellness. Thanks for highlighting these wonderful people who have played such an important part in you making all of the great progress you have made. Over the years, after injuries, I have come to treasure the therapists I have had. They truly do make the difference in moving forward.

  6. Wonderful photos of that fabulous recovery team.
    I admire each one and all they do for everyone they help.
    Continued prayer and praise for all you have accomplished and will in the future.
    Your posts are such an encouragement.

  7. Old saying: Inch by inch its a cinch, yard by yard its hard. One Day at a Time. Love these youngsters choosing to work in the helping professions. Dianne