Young Stroke Program benefits local surveyor

October 4, 2021

Blessed with good health, Chris Turley hadn’t seen a doctor in 15 years.

He led a very active life as a land surveyor together with his wife, Jenny, a realtor.

Then one night in May he awoke and stumbled to the bathroom, rousing Jenny. She noticed his unclear speech and fidgetiness and immediately suspected a stroke. At the hospital, the suspected diagnosis was confirmed. Chris was just 49.

When the time came to think about the next step, the Turleys chose Siskin Hospital for Chris’s physical rehabilitation, with its dedicated stroke unit and special program for younger stroke patients. Siskin Hospital also allowed Jenny to stay overnight in Chris’s room.

During Chris’s inpatient stay, Jenny observed how closely his treatment team worked together for Chris’s recovery.

“Everybody at Siskin Hospital was phenomenal, especially Dr. Young and Dr. Rider,” she says.

Physically, Chris bounced back very quickly and soon discharged home with plans to continue outpatient therapy at the Siskin Outpatient Therapy clinic in East Brainerd. A few weeks later his physical and occupational therapies ceased, but he continued speech therapy to help him relearn speech and cognition skills that are often lost when a part of the brain is damaged by a stroke.

In addition to his therapy sessions, his speech therapist routinely gave him homework to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. In the beginning, Chris’s discouragement and lack of confidence made for some dark days. But he doggedly persevered and those bad days became fewer and farther between. Before long Jenny could see that even on a bad day, Chris was processing and following his therapist’s instructions.

Stroke recovery is complex and different for each individual. The length of recovery time often depends on the part of the brain affected by the stroke. Physical rehabilitation helps patients meet the challenges of stroke recovery, and with Chris’s diligence and hard work, he made excellent progress and has returned to some of the activities he once enjoyed.