“Life is like a puzzle: it all seems a mess, but when it gets fixed, it looks awesome. Be patient. Just like a puzzle, it takes time for all the pieces of your life to come together.”
From the time she was a six-year-old growing up in southern Oregon, Ashley Durham has enjoyed doing puzzles with her mother. “It’s always the small pieces that make the big picture,” she says.
Two years ago, Ashley moved to Bowling Green with her family. She is a young stay-at-home mother of four children (three boys and one girl). With her supportive husband working, Ashley homeschooled their children during the pandemic. She never imagined how much, and how quickly, her life would change.
For a while, Ashley struggled to keep down anything but chicken broth and Ensure. To address the issue, she underwent surgery on her gallbladder and her health seemed to be on the right track.
Then, a couple of months later, Ashley collapsed on the floor. She could not feel her hands or hold anything. “My hands were tingling, my legs felt like Jell-o, and I couldn’t get up from the floor,” she recalled.
Things continued to worsen for Ashley. She experienced generalized weakness and kept falling. Her inability to eat returned. This led to hospitalization at Greenview Hospital, where she spent three weeks. After numerous tests, Ashley was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Guillain-Barre syndrome, or GBS, is a rare neurological disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system. Inpatient rehabilitation often plays a key role in recovering from GBS.
Ashley’s physician recommended she admit to Southern Kentucky Rehabilitation Hospital before returning home. At SKY Rehab, Ashley would regain the strength, balance, and function she needed to safely care for herself and her family.
Over the next three weeks, Ashley worked hard with her physical and occupational therapists at SKY. She regained movement in her hands, doing puzzles and coloring as part of her therapy. “It helps with my hand movements, signature, and writing,” she said. Ashley can complete toileting, standing, and transfer movements, uses the Arjo walker, and has resumed eating again.
The staff at SKY provided support and encouragement for Ashley’s recovery. “I know I can beat this. Aleksey, Hannah B., and Rachel have given me the confidence to keep going and push me in a loving way,” she said. “Everyone is so caring and welcoming. SKY is like a second family to me.”
“I recommend anyone that has an illness or injury to come here for their rehab,” Ashley continued. “The therapy department have been my biggest cheerleaders, and they have helped me get my balance. I’m standing up completely now.”
“I love my therapists! They never gave up on me.”
During her rehabilitation, Ashley drew inspiration from her family. “My biggest motivation was my boys, asking me when I was coming home and when I would walk again,” she shared. “Thank you, SKY Rehab. You brought my independence back. I can go home now, and will continue outpatient rehab at SKY.”