“This is the Place for Stroke Recovery!”
Kristen Knight was in the midst of a happy career singing and composing for television and film, then four months ago, she suffered a stroke because of a small blood clot and lost feeling and the use of the left side of her body. At that point in time, she’d lost all hope.
“For the first three months, I was actively planning my suicide,” she recalled. “It’s not that I wanted to die; it’s just that I can’t live in a paralyzed body. After a stroke, you are grieving a loss. It takes a huge emotional toll when you lose functionality in your limbs.”
Kristen also became frustrated during this time and felt she was languishing at a nursing facility where she was located. Kristen didn’t think she was getting the care she felt she needed. Then she came to the Craig H. Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital and into the services of the stroke team.
“As soon as I came here, the suicidal feelings stopped because I had hope and had that strong support. The staff here is phenomenal, the nurses and therapists are amazing, and the equipment is state-of-the-art. I couldn’t be more pleased to be here.”
Kristen explained that rehabilitative care here is holistic. Beyond physical healing, the team of medical providers, nurses, therapists, and psychologists helps patients learn to adapt, find a new quality of life and maximize their capabilities with whatever condition they may face. She describes that the stroke team covers every detail, including occupational, speech, and physical therapy; neuroplasticity; bladder function; lymphedema care; education; counseling; and even food selection.
“After you’ve had a stroke or a traumatic brain injury, you feel like you don’t have a lot of choice in your life. But even the little things like being able to choose from the menu. There’s a person who comes in every day to take your menu choice. I have a choice in what I eat, so I have some control of my life. So, it’s a holistic approach to healing and recovery and quality of life right where you are.”
Kristen also finds great inspiration in the work of Dr. Steven Edgley, the director of the stroke unit and himself a stroke survivor. The combination of whole-body healing, support, and reassurance leads Kristen also to be a source of encouragement. She often meets with other patients throughout the hospital and in the therapy gyms and encourages them to keep trying and keep believing.
“Even if I were never to gain any more movement, I can still have a wonderful life and be happy and contribute because I’m learning how to do that, and I’m learning that I still have value as a person, which is amazing.”
Kristen emphasized that the stroke team makes her work hard, but that’s what she wants because the more she works, the more her brain learns and communicates with her body. She is experiencing an incredible journey that she didn’t think was possible initially. Still, with the help of the advanced equipment and the excellent care from all involved within the Craig H. Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital, Kristen looks to the future with brightness and hope.
“You want the best care and the best chance for recovery? This is the place. This is the place, wonderful people, and very caring. I’ve had a brilliant experience here. I feel really happy to be here, and I’ve seen a lot of progress, and I’m grateful.”