Stroke changes life as we know it, not only for a survivor but also for their entire family. New physical limitations, mental, emotional or behavioral challenges, speech impairments or lifestyle changes can make recovering from stoke a family affair.
Here is one family's story about recovering from stroke with the help of UnityPoint Health - Des Moines.
"My whole life, my grandpa worked hard to provide for his family. He and my grandmother worked long hours running their own business, often times working 14+ hours a day running a small grocery store and delivering fresh produce to local restaurants. I guess over time, that stress caught up to him.
While driving home from work late one night, my grandpa lost part of his vision unexpectedly. He was able to pull the vehilcle over and after a few minutes, his vision returned but remained slightly blurred in one eye. He was bothered by the incident but chalked it up to stress, hunger or fatigue. In reality, it was a warning sign of stroke that went ignored.
The next morning when he awoke, my grandmother noticed changes in his facial appearance: slight drooping of his mouth on one side, slurred speech and his right foot dragged a bit when he attempted to walk. She knew something wasn't right, and immediately called 911.
Little did we know then, this stroke would be the first of many.
Over the next decade, my grandpa suffered several small strokes and one large stroke that further affected his speech and gait. After each one, he worked hard to regain as much independence as possible, and UnityPoint Health - Des Moines was with us every step of the way.
From the Emergency Room to the Certified Primary Stroke Center at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, through Stroke Rehabilitation at Younker Rehabilitation Center, my grandpa and our entire family received the support and care we needed to adapt to each stroke. Continued outpatient therapy services and home health care eased the transition home from the hospital for the entire family.
The caring physicians, nurses, therapists and staff celebrated every milestone with us: the first time he moved his little finger, spoke, sat up in bed, dressed and bathed himself, walked without assistance, mastered how to drive again and when he started a part-time job! His care providers became a part of our family.
Without the excellent care and dedication we received from UnityPoint Health - Des Moines, my grandfather's stroke could have resulted very differently. We're thankful for the individualized care he received throughout the years, and recommend the many services of UnityPoint Health - Des Moines to anyone."
-Stephanie Campbell / Des Moines, Iowa
*Stephanie Campbell is a contracted lifestyle writer who contributes to IowaHealth.org.