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After Covid, A Stroke Survivor Reclaims Her Dignity

After Covid, A Stroke Survivor Reclaims Her Dignity

After Covid, A Stroke Survivor Reclaims Her Dignity

Having survived Covid, Kristi Hall was relieved to resume her life of work, marriage, and caring for her puppy. But on April 27, 2021, Kristi felt a pop at the base of her head. The pain intensified until she started screaming. “When I stood up, I’d lost all control of my right side,” she recalled. “I don’t remember much after that because I was in a coma.”

That pop was a stroke and the coma lasted two weeks. In the hospital, staff tested the pain reflex on her right side; she had none. “They said I’d never regain anything on that side of my body.” Yet today, she’s receiving stroke treatment at Centre for Neuro Skills’ Fort Worth facility and is walking, shopping, paying bills, and has even started a patient discussion group to build camaraderie.

‘I Call My Therapist the Gait Whisperer’

Kristi’s case manager, Dearcy Brown, noted that per Kristi’s treating physicians, Covid was the main cause of the stroke, but CNS focused solely on stroke rehabilitation. Building strength on her right side and increasing independence with functional mobility were a priority. Her right hand presented with increased tone and Botox was used to relax the spasticity. Kristi was informed by her physicians that her Covid diagnosis increased the “stickiness” of her blood, which had been known to incite stroke. In response, the medical team assigned medications to thin her blood.

This whole person approach is a hallmark of CNS treatment. Her stroke and its underlying causes were addressed, providing a foundation for life post injury. Therefore, Kristi’s tailored care centered on her specific deficits, mostly physical.

Prior to CNS, Kristi was told she’d need a lift to get out of bed and that she’d never walk again. “I said ‘Nope, that’s not okay.’ But when I came to CNS, they were positive, I was able to prove what I could do.” In physical therapy, she focused on balance and walking. Her team fitted her with a custom ankle orthotic and worked on micro movements. “I call my physical therapist the gait whisperer,” Kristi mused. “She’s always fine tuning my walk.” Kristi has also regained right arm mobility.

Pushing Past the Finish Line

Kristi’s determination is an example of “Patients Don’t Plateau,” a company pillar that sets the bar high for expectations. In that spirit, she has launched a peer-to-peer discussion group for patients. This week’s topic is “Pushing Past Prognoses” because, she said, “We’re often told we’d never do things that we’re now doing. My concept was that I don’t see a finish line.”

Her husband knows this about Kristi, and when she was first diagnosed with poor chances of recovery, he kindly responded, “You don’t know my wife. She’s still in there.”

And still pushing past prognoses.