After serving five years as a U.S. Navy Corpman in Pensacola, Carolyn Dickman returned home to Moscow. Carolyn suffers from a blood disorder, Factor V Leiden, which increases the risk and severity of blood clots. In November of 2010, she suffered a blood clot that moved to the left side of her brain. While she was given the clot busting medication tPA within the three-hour window, she did lose all function in her right side.
When Carolyn began her intensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy at Allied, her hands fingers were closed so tight she couldn’t open her hand. She had to use a wheelchair. She wondered what function, if any, she would regain.
Carolyn’s husband had retired, so he was able to help at home and take her to her outpatient appointments. Her therapists assured her that with determination, she could make great progress. That she did. Carolyn says, “I went in in a wheelchair and came out walking. I cannot thank my therapists enough.”
Carolyn also credits advanced technology used at Allied with her recovery. Iris Lovallo, her Occupational Therapist, used the NESS H200 Hand Rehabilitation System. This device made helped Carolyn relearn to reach, grasp, open, and close her right hand by delivering low-level electrical stimulation to activate the nerves that control the muscles in the hand and forearm.
Carolyn is thrilled to feel independent again. She boasts of how well she can do household chores, like scrubbing her kitchen or peeling potatoes to make dinner for her husband. She’s doing so well that he felt confident to come out of retirement and now works in banking.
Determined to remain active, Carolyn goes to the gym regularly. She does weight training and walks the treadmill. She’s also doing something she never dreamed of… learning to play piano. Iris Lovallo arranged for a piano teacher to give Carolyn lessons to stimulate her limbs using commands from a different area of her brain that was not damaged by the clot. This is therapy Carolyn is delighted to perform.
“Allied has done everything for me,” says Carolyn. “There’s nothing I can’t do.”