Kimberly Evans, Elite Physical Therapy’s Director of Managed Care, grew up in Upstate NY but has been in Tennessee for 30+ years. Her father would allow her to help him with nearly every household project growing up. In her own description, she became a tomboy and loved doing that kind of stuff with him. She is grateful for it now because she can change her own brakes, re-roof a shed, build a patio, fix plumbing, run electricity, install new windows, hang a ceiling, or whatever needs to be done. But her life took an abrupt detour almost ten years ago. Here is her story in her own words:
“At the age of 32, March 9, 2009 was like any other average day. I worked all day, picked my daughter up from school, went home and took the dog out. While I was outside with the dog, and with no warning signs at all, I felt this immense warmth running through my head, my vision became immediately blurred and my hearing was extremely muffled. I managed to find my way back into the house and told my 11 year old daughter “Mommy has an incredible headache and I’m going to take a shower to shake it”.
I was in so much pain from the pressure inside my skull that I couldn’t have a complete thought, but managed to get into the shower. Moments later, my daughter heard a big thud from my bathroom, came in to check on me and found me barely conscious, laying on the floor. She was worried that I was mumbling and hardly moving and called a friend of mine to come over.
When my friend arrived, I was no longer responsive, or even conscious and the two of them loaded me into the car and took me 4 miles to the ER. The hospital was able to diagnose the 5-finger aneurysm rupture but had no way to treat it.
I was transferred from StoneCrest Hospital in Smyrna to Skyline Medical in Nashville. When my parents arrived to Skyline, the doctors explained my condition to them and apologized for not having a means of treatment for such a rupture and would expect me to pass away within 10-12 hours.
Over the course of the next 10-12 hours, my brain swelled so much it actually stopped the bleed and gave the neurosurgeons an opportunity to attempt a repair three days later. After 4 operations, the aneurysm had been repaired and a long journey of reabsorbing the blood back into the brain tissue awaited. (As blood is reabsorbed into the brain tissue, it destroys the tissue, rendering it dead.)
Secondary to the ruptured aneurysm, I suffered from multiple strokes and seizures. After four months in ICU and 6 weeks on the general floor, I was discharged with no real certainty of what the next 6 months may bring. I could have detrimental stroke, choke to death in a state of seizure, reabsorb blood into the brain stem and die, or it could be reabsorbed into unused mass and nothing would change.
Remarkably, after such a rupture, I had survived, and had a far better outcome than ever expected, but after suffering multiple strokes and seizures, reabsorbing enough blood in my brain to kill more than 50% of it, and having been in bed for nearly 6 months, I had a long way to go to rehabilitate, regain my strength and just be able to bare the day to day care for myself and my daughter. About 6 months later, I had regained my strength but continued to have some deficits in my abilities.
In 2011, I was diagnosed with a residual left-side weakness that was now creating pain and stiffness in my left arm, left shoulder, neck, back and hips. At that point I began physical therapy with Dr. David Cox and for balance and left side weakness, as residual effects from the multiple strokes. Dr. Cox and I worked out the kinks and strengthened the left side of my body, eliminated the pain and stiffness, and began working towards some balance and stability corrections.
Today, I proudly work alongside the very therapist that helped me overcome the left-side weakness and renew my confidence in my balance and stability. With the renewed confidence, I meander into a trout stream to do some fly fishing without hesitation, attend CrossFit classes regularly, play golf, go paddle boarding, and anything else I may want to do.”
Kimberly, we are so grateful for you and the impact that you have on our lives, and our patient’s lives, every day. You are a daily testament to our mission, vision, and values. We are proud to call you colleague and friend.
If you or your loved ones need physical therapy for recovery from a stroke, call us today for your free consult, click here to request an appointment for Elite Relief or call directly to one of our three locations during regular business hours:
Cool Springs: 615-224-9810
Spring Hill: 931-489-2022