Did you know that brain injuries affect millions of adults and children each year? Whether these injuries are non-traumatic (e.g. stroke, tumor) or traumatic (e.g. car accidents, falls), they often leave survivors with long-term physical, cognitive, and communication disabilities. After all, our brain controls everything we say, do, think, and feel while also controlling the basic functions that keep us alive. So what happens when it’s injured? Brain injury survivors can experience changes in areas like moving, talking, thinking, and eating. Stroke survivor and current Magee patient Robinn Haynes knows all about such changes following her second stroke on February 24, 2015. This is her second stay at Magee where she is currently working on improving her walking, balance, strength, and higher-level cognitive skills. As Robinn’s speech therapist, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to see her caring personality, sense of humor, and positive outlook shine as she believes in a way back. Learn a little bit more about Robinn here.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Robinn and I was born in raised in Philadelphia. I currently live in North Philadelphia near Temple University where I live with my husband of almost 33 years, Fred. I’m 64-years old and enjoy a wide variety of activities including cooking, going to church, and campaigning for different political events and elections. I’m blessed with lots of friends and a large family that have been very supportive throughout both of my recoveries.
What brought you into Magee?
I came into Magee for the first time following a stroke in August of 2014 that affected the back lower part of my brain called the cerebellum. This stroke initially affected the clarity of my speech (for a short time) as well as the strength and sensation on the right side of my body. During my four-week recovery at Magee, I had to teach myself how to walk, maintain my balance, and write again. While continuing my recovery at home, I suffered another stroke on February 24 of this year, which further affected by balance, strength, and walking. I am also quite dizzy a lot of the time now which impacts my ability to safely move around. I am currently working alongside familiar therapists who are helping me to gain as much independence and confidence as possible before I return home.
What was your first day of rehab like?
In all honesty I can’t really remember my first day, but I know I remember liking the staff and my caregivers right off the bat. Magee offered a very warm environment, and everyone I worked with was pleasant and encouraging. After my first day of therapy, I made a promise to myself that I would pull myself up by my boot straps and get going so I could make the best recovery possible. Another thing that helped me along was thinking of my niece who was a patient at Magee less than a year before I arrived. She was in really bad shape and walked out of Magee. I thought, “If she can walk out, I can walk out.”
What advice would you give to another brain injury survivor?
I would tell them to try and give it their all and to do what is asked of them. You have to believe and know that your therapists know what is best for you. They want you to make the best recovery possible. I think Magee’s slogan says it all: You have to believe in a way back!