Amanda Hochstetler

As a married mother in her mid-thirties, Amanda Hochstetler lived a busy but healthy and rewarding life. Then one day, Amanda’s life changed dramatically when she had a seizure while driving, causing a motor vehicle accident. Following the accident, doctors diagnosed Amanda with epilepsy. Though no longer able to drive, Amanda remained independent, raising her young children and caring for their home.

Over the following year, Amanda worked on her recovery but continued to have seizures. After consulting with her physicians, Amanda scheduled a temporal lobectomy to treat her epilepsy. Amanda underwent the procedure at Norton Brownsboro Hospital with her neurosurgeon, Dr. Sun. Unfortunately, Amanda suffered a stroke on the right side of her brain during the surgery.

Once stabilized, Amanda transferred to Southern Indiana Rehabilitation Hospital (SIRH) for inpatient stroke rehab. Amanda began a rigorous therapy regimen based on an individualized plan of care designed for her specific deficits and goals. “They brought me a welcome gift, and my therapist immediately came into my room and started working with me,” Amanda recalled.

During her inpatient stay, Amanda became extremely close with her therapists, especially Megan. “My therapists were so welcoming to me and were so amazing that I absolutely love them. My therapists were my cheerleaders when I would meet a goal — even if it was the smallest goal — they would cheer for me. They would make sure I got up every day to do therapy, even when I didn’t want to or I didn’t have the energy. They would make sure that I got up out of that bed because they knew how important it was for my recovery.”

That hard work paid off, and Amanda progressed enough to return home with her family in time to celebrate the holiday season. To continue advancing her recovery, Amanda participates in outpatient therapy at SIRH. She still gets to work with Megan and loves her other therapist, Jennifer, too.

“When I go back for outpatient therapy, everyone knows me by name,” Amanda shared. “The staff still comes to visit me, to even say ‘hi.’ You just feel loved when you go in there. Everyone makes you feel welcomed.”

During outpatient therapy, Amanda works with Megan and Jennifer using the EksoNR robotic exoskeleton. “I love using it!” Amanda said with a smile. The device helps Amanda with her strength and balance, and she notices that improvement each week. SIRH and the EksoNR have had such a significant impact on Amanda’s recovery that she often joins Megan and Jennifer to demonstrate the device to local clinicians, offering a patient’s point of view.

Amanda is now seizure-free and plans to start writing a book about recovery and hope for fellow stroke survivors. She is truly a part of the SIRH family, and we’re so happy to see her ongoing accomplishments!