Before her stroke, Joyce Bynum worked full-time as a nurse and attended classes part-time, working toward her master’s in nursing. In her spare time, she enjoyed playing with her grandkids. Life was full, but relatively easy. Joyce could do things she wanted and maneuvered without trouble.
Then came the stroke.
One Sunday, Joyce was working on a paper for her second-to-last master’s class. Around noon, she experienced an episode of blurred vision, weakness, and ataxia (uncoordinated movement) in her right leg. The episode only lasted a few minutes, so Joyce continued about her day. After all, she had a paper to complete! Then she had another episode around 3 pm and again at 6 pm.
Recognizing the signs, Joyce decided to go to the emergency department at Indiana University Health. They ran all the scans and performed all the tests they could, but everything returned negative. Joyce was admitted for overnight observation and discharged the next day without symptoms.
At 4:30 am the following day, the symptoms returned. Joyce returned to the hospital, where they confirmed the stroke. Joyce’s symptoms were more pronounced this time, with right-sided deficits including facial droop, slurred speech, and weakness in her arm and leg.
Being a nurse, Joyce knew the value of acute rehabilitation. “They are the best level of care for a stroke patient,” she stated. “I wanted to get the most intensive therapy I could, to get back as much function as I could.”
Joyce chose Bloomington Regional Rehabilitation Hospital for her recovery. “Amber [the clinical liaison who performed her assessment] and I were acquaintances from the old rehab unit. I was happy to see her.”
It wasn’t just Amber that impacted Joyce’s recovery at BRRH, but many staff members. “Really, the entire team was great,” Joyce shared. “Those that stood out to me were Charlene (PT), Maribeth (PT), Kaitlyn (OT), and Mary and Kayla (Nursing). They all played a significant role in my recovery. Also, I have to recognize Helen, my case manager, Denise, Dr. Choudhury, and Steve (Facilities). Steve was willing to do anything and always happy to help.”
“I could tell the entire team worked hard to make sure everyone involved in my care had the information they needed.”
Joyce is thrilled with her decision.
“I look back now and am so thankful that I got the chance to come here. I wouldn’t have pushed myself as hard as the staff did to get as much function back as I did. I was intelligent enough to know I would get better. But the amount of progress I made in such a short time…I cannot tell you how thankful I am that I got the opportunity to come here right after my stroke. I know how important it is.”
Joyce also knew the importance of staying motivated and drew on her faith for inspiration. “Being dependent on faith and God and the role he would play in my recovery, and the prayers from everyone on my behalf, played a big role. I know I had people praying for me!”
“God’s not done with me! I have more living to do, and now I can do it.”
Joyce defines success as “doing the best you can with the current task before you, knowing it’s just a step toward the final destination.” And that’s how she approached each day at BRRH from admission to discharge.
Now, Joyce is ready for a return to her everyday life. “I am really looking forward to seeing my grandkids and spending time with them. I also am eager to continue my therapy and continue getting better. Eventually, I plan on returning to full-time nursing work and completing my master’s.”They