Theresa Seaman, known as Terry, a 72-year-old retired bank operations manager from Marlton, experienced a life-altering event when she suffered a stroke. Renowned for her active lifestyle of walking five miles daily, caring for her grandchildren, and enjoying lunches with friends, her routine was turned upside down.
Her story begins when she fell in the garage, resulting in a left arm fracture. Following this incident, she became unresponsive and was promptly transported to the hospital. A CT scan revealed Terry had a stroke caused by a blood clot. She was given medication to help dissolve the blood clot and restore the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
Once stabilized, she underwent surgery to address the left arm fracture. Facing various physical and cognitive challenges, Terry and her family knew intensive rehabilitation was the next step in her recovery. They turned to Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation – Marlton to help her regain her independence.
Upon admission, she had difficulty with memory and processing information, and weakness on the left side of her body rendered her unable to perform daily tasks, walk or even sit up on her own. However, she was determined to reach her goal. “I wanted to go back to living, walking in my house and being surrounded by friends and family,” she said.
Her physician-led team of rehabilitation nurses, physical, occupational and speech therapists, and other stroke specialists developed a plan to help Terry meet her goals.
Physical therapy focused on rebuilding her strength and mobility through gait training exercises utilizing various equipment and technology. Terry utilized the LiteGait body-weight support system over a treadmill and the Bioness functional electrical stimulation (FES) device on her legs during walking. These interventions allowed her to progress from standing to walking and climbing stairs. After three weeks at Kessler, she gained the ability to move her wheelchair with her legs and walk with the aid of a handrail or crutch.
Terry remain motivated “by how my physical therapist came up with creative ways to make me walk, especially since I couldn’t use my arm.”
Her occupational therapists focused on improving her left arm strength and ability to perform daily activities such as dressing and bathing. They applied FES to the arm muscles while she performed the activities to help them move. To treat her left-sided spatial neglect, she participated in visual scanning treatment (VST) – repeatedly locating targets on both sides of the visual field – and Kessler Foundation Prism Adaptation Treatment (KF-PAT) – wearing prism lenses while making arm reaching movements toward visual targets.
Due to her hard work, at the time of her discharge, Terry was able to perform daily activities with modifications plus get in and out of the car with assistance. Similarly, she excelled at her speech therapy sessions which focused on improving her cognition, information processing and memory.
Terry’s husband was by her side throughout her rehabilitation journey. He participated in Kessler’s family education training sessions to help with a safe transition home. Her son expressed his gratitude to Terry’s care team. “I can’t thank you enough for being so good with my mom,” he said, adding, “She was in such a fragile state of mind after everything that happened to her, but therapy was her favorite part of the day…You guys do amazing work there. I never thought she would be able to walk again.”
Terry planned to continue to improve her strength and mobility as an outpatient.
Reflecting on her experience, Terry emphasizes the importance of patience for others who find themselves in a similar situation. “Be patient and listen to your therapists because they know what they are doing…You will get there. Baby steps but you will get there.”