Posted on February 20, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 16 of 32 in the series Kelly

Relearning to Walk After TBI: Kelly Part Sixteen

We went back to talking about the process Kelly went through relearning to walk after TBI and how she pushed the limits past what the therapists wanted her to do.

Let me ask a couple of questions about that period of time when you were home.  Now did you have some sort of a homecoming kind of a celebration when you got home? 


You were home for three weeks? 


Then you were eligible for some additional rehabilitation. 

Exactly, yes, was available for outpatient rehabilitation.

Why the gap of the three weeks?  To get it approved? 

Through insurance, yes.

It took three weeks for the insurance company to figure out that you needed additional rehabilitation after two months of treatment for severe brain injury? 

As far as I’m aware, yes.

Do you remember any aspect of that fight or struggle to get you more treatment? 

No I do not.

This would be about the first of December? 

Yes, December the 10th.  Right after Thanksgiving I had to go back for outpatient.

Kelly Teaches Therapists How to Teach Relearning to Walk After TBI

Talk to me about your outpatient rehab. 

Well, outpatient rehab consisted of again more speech therapy, more occupational therapy, and physical therapy.  Physical therapy kept me more to walking better(relearning to walk after TBI). I got to teach the physical therapist some new techniques as well (on relearning to walk after TBI).

What do you mean by teaching the therapist?  On relearning to walk after TBI?

Well, during the inpatient portion of the therapy, I wanted to get out of that wheelchair and be able to walk and be able to just work my body back to its maximum level.  So I asked them to please help me walk.

Well one night mother came to visit me and I says mother will you please be my date to dinner?  You know, let me, escort me to dinner.  She was going to be my balance beam basically.

So we’re walking down the hall and the occupational therapist saw me.  She says, what are you doing?  Why are you not in wheelchair?  I said I’m walking with the dinner with my mother.

Well of course they were might be afraid that I might fall or something, so, we’re going to  see about getting you a quad cane tomorrow.  A quad cane is a cane with four pronged legs, and that’s what you would use to stabilize yourself if you got dizzy or something. (just one of the tools used is relearning to walk after TBI)

So sure enough, the next day, they came and they measured me for a quad cane; well that got me out of the wheelchair which was a good thing.

Then more training came along to walking with a quad cane and then it came time for me be out-patiented home.  The three weeks was up.  And then when I came back for outpatient rehabilitation, we went back to walking with that quad cane.

I remember distinctly one event that, that the occupational therapist started walking around the hall at Vanderbilt Stallworth.  We were on the third floor, and she said: “Now Kelly while we’re walking I know that cane is going to  get heavy, but if it ever gets heavy don’t, don’t leave it behind, just keep using the cane, because when your, when your body is ready for you to leave the cane, you’ll be able to leave the cane.”  Well she didn’t know me very well.

So she’s, she’s ahead of me.  So I’m walking on this cane.  It’s getting heavy.  It’s causing my shoulder to ache.  So I sat it back and I just kept going.  And I caught up with her, she says, where is your cane.  I said it’s back there.  She says, don’t ever leave your cane.  I said well you told me that when I was ready to leave it, I could leave it.  Go back and get it.  So I go back and get the cane.  I walk along.

Next in Part Seventeen – E-Stim Opens up Her Hand

By Attorney Gordon Johnson


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447