It’s challenging to experience one stroke, but what about seven? It sounds impossible, but it was a reality for Ryan Duarte, 34, of Overland Park, Kan.
In September 2013, Ryan was playing video games when he started feeling dizzy and lost his vision. His wife and mother rushed him into the emergency room and were told that
Ryan was experiencing a hypertensive crisis. He was given medicine to lower his blood pressure and sent home.
The next morning, however, Ryan woke up with a “pins and needles” feeling on the left side of his body. He returned to the ER for a CT scan, revealing that Ryan had experienced a
stroke, turning into a massive stroke, which led to seven small strokes. The doctor informed his family that Ryan had a large amount of plaque in the blood vessels of his head, with 75%
of arteries blocked. Ryan fell into a coma for two months and remained in the ICU for some time before he could transfer to the acute hospital’s rehabilitation unit. Ryan was in the hospital for two months.
Ryan discharged from the hospital in a wheelchair. He could walk short distances with a cane, but was unable to climb stairs. He returned home and enlisted the help of a home healthcare program, his biggest challenges being walking, balance, vision, memory, comprehension and use of his left hand. After two months of home healthcare, Ryan’s therapist recommended he continue outpatient therapy at MidAmerica Rehabilitation Hospital.
Once Ryan began outpatient therapy at MidAmerica, he quickly noticed significant improvement. By April he was able to walk on his own, without a cane. Ryan used many advanced technologies throughout his stay such as an iPad (for vision exercises), Bioness NESS H200®, Dynavision™, Interactive Metronome™ SaeboFlex® and the therapy pool.
Today, Ryan continues to work hard in his outpatient therapy sessions. He attributes much of his progress to the outpatient therapy team at MidAmerica, who he says are “top-notch – they are all very caring and knowledgeable.”
When not at therapy, Ryan spends time at home doing his home exercises, listening to the news and hanging out with family. His wife stays home to help with many of the things he is still unable to do for himself – inject insulin, cook meals, transportation to appointments, etc. He is finally able to help with laundry, and can now climb the stairs in their house. Ryan hopes to someday return to working in IT, but is focused on continuing to work hard at regaining his function for now.