Debra Kovanda

We all have certain health factors in our family trees that make us conscious of how we go about our daily lives. We make an effort to eat right, maintain a certain level of physical activity, etc. This was how Debra Kovanda lived her life.

While working in her garden one day, Debra suddenly felt her right side go weak. She made her way back to the patio and took a picture of her face. The photo reinforced Debra’s suspicion — she was having a stroke. Debra alerted a family member who transported her to TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital.

Debra arrived at Greenview in time to receive tPA treatment. The clot-busting drug is usually only administered within three hours of the first stroke symptom. When it comes to stroke, time is critical. This is true not only in regards to treatment but therapy, too.

The sooner a patient starts therapy following a stroke, the better the chance of returning to their prior level of function. Less than 48 hours after admission to Greenview, Debra transferred to SKY Rehab.

Debra spent three weeks receiving inpatient stroke rehabilitation at SKY. During that time, depression was a serious obstacle she had to face. Debra often felt frustrated she could not function independently, as she had before the stroke. But her family and the staff at SKY helped her work through those moments. “They were really pushing me to work hard,” Debra reflected. “Because if it were left up to me, I wouldn’t have worked that hard and given up. But that was what I needed. Someone there to prod me to continue to work hard.”

To advance her recovery, Debra looked for opportunities to put in extra work. Whenever she could, Debra did exercise above and beyond her three hours per day with her therapists. Any extra time in her room was spent on extra work. Between therapy sessions, Debra utilized TheraBands tied to her bed to work on her upper body function.

“I didn’t lay down in my bed to rest until it was time to go to sleep,” Debra noted.

After completing her three-week inpatient stay, Debra was discharged home. She continued therapy through SKY’s outpatient department. Debra had big plans and wanted to be as independent as possible. Outpatient therapy helped Debra prepare for her daughter’s wedding this past fall, as well as an upcoming relocation with her family. Now confident in her balance, Debra’s focus is on completing tasks without assistance.

At first, Debra’s husband wanted to take her out of state for her rehab. Ultimately, they decided to come to SKY, and are pleased with that decision. “We’ve had such success here, we are glad we stayed!”