Fighting back after a stroke

Fighting back after a stroke

Karlyn Grant is a fighter. In December 2012 she had a stroke that knocked out all mobility on her right side. Today she is still battling to regain her strength and independence. But with hard work and the help of physical and occupational therapists at Christiana Care Rehabilitation Services, she was able to take her first unaided steps in more than a year.

Grant woke up in the middle of the night on Dec. 4, 2012, unable to move her right arm or right leg. “I knew it was a stroke right away,” she said.

An ambulance took her to Christiana Hospital, where she stayed for several days until moving to the rehabilitation floor at Wilmington Hospital. There she received speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.

“My therapists at Wilmington were lovely people,” said Grant. “It was a tough time for me, and they were so kind. They started me on my way.”

Her specialist, Dr. Kelly Heath, counseled her to be patient, that recovery from a stroke was no small task and it would require a tremendous effort. Grant was up to the challenge.

Since March, Grant’s greatest ally has been Michele Brill, her physical therapist at Christiana Care Rehabilitation Services in Middletown. When Grant talks about her “girl,” as she affectionately calls Brill, her voice turns as soft as butter. The two work together twice a week on balance, strength, coordination and confidence.

“When I started, I didn’t think I could do much,” Grant said. “Michele encouraged me and walked me through the exercises. Then, when I tried, I discovered I could do more than I realized.” Whether it’s laps around the Rehabilitation Services office, riding the NuStep or working on the parallel bars, Brill’s presence is a constant — reaffirming her every effort. Grant summed it up simply: “She’s just there.”

With Brill’s help and Grant’s hard work, a year of ups and downs is culminating in a success story. “Michele and I have done so much together,” Grant said. “There is a lot more work to be done, but I’m feeling better about my recovery. Slow and steady wins the race.”