Karen Tanner, RN, orthopedic service coordinator and stroke coordinator at Mercy Medical Center, was at work in September 2013 when she felt tingling on the left side of her body accompanied by a headache, nausea and dizziness. Having survived two strokes by the age of 46, Tanner knew immediately the telltale signs of what was happening and walked down to the emergency room to be admitted.
Her stroke resulted in paralysis on her left side. Since she lived alone, Tanner found motivation in regaining lost independence so that she could take care of herself. To help her get her life back, she chose HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, a Partner with Washington Regional, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to help accomplish her goals including driving again, walking without assistance and getting back to work. Her decision was based on a doctor’s recommendation as well as familiarity of the hospital’s reputation in the community.
When she was admitted to HealthSouth Fayetteville, she was not able to do anything without assistance and stayed as an inpatient for 13 days. She touts her therapy team for their patience and consistent encouragement in getting her where she is today.
“They coordinated the care around me and made me want to get better,” stated Tanner.
After six weeks, Tanner achieved her goal of returning to work. Her duties as stroke coordinator, which embodied her professional knowledge and her experience as a stroke survivor, gave her new purpose and allowed her to better relate to her patients and offer resources and advice. Most were surprised that she experienced stroke at such a young age and was doing so well. She explains that rehabilitation was a key component of her getting her life back.