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A stroke in December 2018 left Ron Watson with a paralyzed tongue and aphasia, as well as difficulties with mobility and self-care.

 

Watson came to Life Care Center of Wichita, Kansas, on Feb. 4, 2019, on a feeding tube and with deficits in cognition, gait, bed mobility, transfers, balance, grooming, bathing and dressing. His doctor advised that he either learn to swallow or consider end-of-life planning.

 

Therapists at the facility worked with Watson to turn his situation around. While physical therapists addressed training in strength and mobility and occupational therapists helped him relearn self-care skills like getting dressed and brushing his teeth, speech therapists put their efforts into swallow training and thinking skills. They did oral motor exercises with him for dysphagia and used the modified barium swallow test and the Frazier water protocol as guides in what he was able to safely eat and drink.

 

“I liked my therapists, especially my speech therapist, and my nurse,” said Watson. “I couldn’t walk. Now I can. I can swallow now.”

 

Although Watson still has trouble with his tongue, which hampers his speech, he is able to communicate through writing, and he can feed himself a modified diet. He can get around and take care of himself mostly independently.

 

Watson returned home on May 2.