Phit Phorum: Dillaney and Her Stroke

Dillaney is a 67-year-old retired teacher who recently celebrated her birthday with a group of friends, one of whom had experienced a stroke. Dillaney listened as her friend described the symptoms that made her call 911.
Just this week, Dillaney recognized that she might be having a stroke when she was making her lunch and suddenly dropped a spoon she was holding in her left hand. She couldn’t pick up the spoon and her entire left arm felt weak. She immediately called 911 for help, and by the time the ambulance arrived, she was seated because she didn’t think her left leg could support her weight.
Dillaney was immediately taken to her local hospital’s established stroke unit. The medical staff used clinical and imaging tests to confirm an ischemic stroke. Dillaney was treated with medication to dissolve the blood clot and restore blood flow in the brain. Because Dillaney immediately received treatment, there was minimal damage to the brain. The next day, a hospital physical therapist visited Dillaney in her room.
Dillaney reported only mild weakness and numbness on the left side of her body. After assessing Dillaney , her physical therapist designed a strengthening and walking program based on her needs. Dillaney learned how to safely get out of bed and use a walker for moving short distances.
Dillaney was moved to the rehabilitation unit in the hospital, where she began walking and balance training on a treadmill with some support to prevent falling. As she improved her walking skills, the support was reduced. Dillaney was discharged from the rehabilitation unit when she was able to use a cane for walking. She continued out-patient physical therapy.
Dillaney’s physical therapist designed an individualized treatment program that included coming to therapy for strengthening and balance activities for independent walking. He also prescribed community activities that Dillaney could participate in with a friend to supervise her, to help her gain endurance in various environments.
Eight weeks later, Dillaney was able to walk independently, climb stairs, and fully return to her community activities. Upon her discharge from physical therapy, her physical therapist reminded Dillaney of the importance of daily physical activity to maintain her health, and encouraged her to remember the warning signs of another stroke. He assured her that he and her medical team would always be ready to help!
This story was based on a real-life case. Your case may be different. Your physical therapist will tailor a treatment program to your specific case.