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Trina's Story: Regaining Her Autonomy After a Stroke

Trina's Story: Regaining Her Autonomy After a Stroke

In February of 2021, 63-year-old Trina was having a normal evening at home when her life changed suddenly. She fell to the floor and remained there for two hours, unable to move. When her husband walked in, he called 911 immediately. Trina had suffered a stroke, but this reality didn't hit her until days later as she laid in a hospital bed and began regaining more awareness.

"I was not in good shape. I don't think I even knew what shape I was in; I had no sensation on my right side, I couldn't walk without a walker, and I needed help with basic things like going to the bathroom and showering," Trina explained. "I spent about 12 hours each night sleeping."

Trina remained at the hospital for three days before being transferred to El Camino Health's Acute Rehab program in Los Gatos to begin her rehabilitation. This inpatient program supports patients through every step of their recovery after a traumatic brain or spinal injury, which can often impact mental health as well as physical. The rehabilitation care team at El Camino Health approaches each patient with this in mind and provides compassionate care with a holistic approach.

At the beginning of her month-long stay in rehabilitation, Trina looked ahead at her road to recovery and knew that she would have many obstacles to overcome. Despite Trina's positive and ambitious mindset on life, she worried about how and when she would be able to truly get back to her pre-stroke life. She was grateful that her mental state and speaking abilities were strong, but other daily tasks were incredibly difficult — she had even lost the ability to write something as simple as her own name. But as she dove into the rehabilitation process — including occupational, speech and physical therapies — she was amazed at her quick progress.

"The team was always a step ahead of me. As I got better, they knew just when to nudge me," Trina recalled. "They helped me safely challenge myself and showed me what was possible so I could push myself with their guidance and didn’t have to figure it all out on my own when I left."

Even with the many physical hurdles Trina faced, she found encouragement in having the full support of her rehab team. She was determined to heal, with a "let's go get 'em" attitude, and they constantly matched her motivated mindset.

"It was whole-body wellness, not just bits and pieces," Trina said. "It's a million and one little moments that add up, like being able to wash your own hair again, and I thought it was pretty incredible."

Undergoing such a long and demanding recovery process like this one is never easy, but Trina's inspiring and positive spirit kept her going. Even though the COVID-19 safety protocols didn't allow for visitors, Trina's husband showed support by bringing her flowers and waving outside her window. Trina never lost sight of her goal to regain her independence, and her care team was there to maximize her rehabilitation progress every step of the way.

"Thanks to El Camino Health, I believe I had a record-breaking recovery path. I know that not everyone's journey will be my journey, everybody's different," Trina said. "But I think El Camino Health helped me to recover faster than I would have anywhere else."