Karen Ricci

Karen Ricci remembers the morning of her stroke. Like so many of us, she woke up tired and lay in bed contemplating the day ahead. Karen even debated going to her volunteer appointment. A big fan of the Christian rock group, Hush Harbor, she had committed to helping them out. Lying in bed, Karen felt the Lord speak to her, reminding her that she is a person of her word. So she got up and began her day.

On the drive to her meeting, Karen was almost to Walnut Ridge Baptist Church when she began to feel odd. Though she has had a seizure disorder for many years, Karen noted this felt different. She was drenched in sweat and wasn’t sure she could keep the car on the road. Whipping over lanes of traffic to make a turn, she prayed to Jesus for help.

When she arrived at the church, Karen stumbled in sweating, her legs feeling like noodles, and sick to her stomach. She begged her friends to call an ambulance. The ambulance arrived and transported Karen to University of Louisville Hospital.

Karen heard the staff say she was a “Room 9” patient upon arrival. Having worked at the hospital in the past, Karen knew that this was serious, as only trauma patients, or those gravely ill, went to Room 9.

An MRI revealed a blot clot in Karen’s brain, leading to her stroke. She would spend a week at the hospital, then another eleven days of inpatient rehabilitation. After completing her inpatient program, Karen began outpatient therapy at Southern Indiana Rehabilitation Hospital (SIRH).

Karen’s stroke occurred in her right cerebellum, thus affecting the left side of her body. When she began outpatient therapy, Karen was weak and using a walker. Karen’s therapist nicknamed her weak, shaky left leg “Elvis” to keep her spirits up.

For three months, Karen worked with physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy at SIRH. Now walking without a walker, Karen looks forward to going back to work.

Karen has always believed in the Lord and knows that His direction to keep her commitment saved her life. Love and obedience are the two things that guide Karen, and she is grateful to be granted more time.

Karen wished to thank many people for her recovery, including her therapists at SIRH, Rayna for helping to arrange transportation to get to therapy, and Dave, the transporter. She also acknowledged the physicians who have helped her through her recovery: Dr. Sarah Williams, Lauren Johnson, NP, Dr. Cisak, Dr. Poorkay, Dr. Singh, Dr. Laura Larch, and Dr. Horlander.