FT. THOMAS, Ky. (WKRC) – A local woman is full of gratitude this Thanksgiving to a team that has spent the last several weeks helping her recover from a stroke.
Since strokes can be a complication of COVID-19, she is sharing her story to give others hope in this pandemic time.
The coronavirus has been linked to strokes. That’s mainly because it appears that it leads to unusual blood clots that can form in the body and cut of blood supply, most dangerously to areas of the brain.
The team at St. Elizabeth Healthcare says the key is early treatment and getting into a recovery program as soon as possible to help rebuild the connection between body and brain.
Linda Reller has not been diagnosed with COVID-19, but in October, she was diagnosed with a stroke after some very unusual symptoms.
“I noticed some stiffness in my hand at night,” said Reller. “I went to bed and thought, ‘If it doesn’t get better by the morning, I’ll go to the hospital.’ Then, I felt the stiffness going up my arm, so I drove myself to the hospital. By the time I got there, this was all just pretty well limp.”
“The thought of my right hand not working just petrified me,” added Keller, who sews and quilts.
Luckily, her occupational St. Elizabeth Healthcare occupational therapist Kristi Witemyre is trained in using a device that works almost like a bionic arm.
“We started using the Bioness H200 on her hand to try and retain her muscles on how to activate and engage for functional activities,” said Witemyre.
The Bioness works with special electrode hooked up to Reller’s profile on a computer program , which can then be adjusted for her needs.
“What it does is it stimulates a low dose of electricity to her motor points on her muscles. It helps retrain her brain how to engage those muscles.”
Along with some other skill training, in no time, Reller noticed something almost out of science fiction.
“I was just sort of like this. Now that machine brought out my fingers, and I can curl it into a fist pretty much like this, and that machine just brought out my fingers. And then it curls it into a fist. I got all these babies working again — nanu nanu, peace!”
What’s more is she’s back to quilting and sewing and full of gratitude, she says, this holiday season.
“These people just did an amazing job getting me back,” said Reller.
Keep in mind the acronym FAST is one of the best ways to identify stroke symptoms. That means face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty and time to call 911.
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