‘Strokes ain’t nothing to play with’: Gulf Coast stroke survivor works on road to recovery

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 1:53 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - In some areas of Mississippi, access to home healthcare can be difficult, but on the Gulf Coast there are options. For one Gulf Coast man who’s recovering from a stroke, those options are getting him back on track.

William McKinney, Jr. is currently recovering from his third stroke. The first one happened back in 2014 when he was in a pool playing volleyball.

“Couldn’t move, so it took about six of them to help me out, and they had a nurse there to help me out the water and she was a paramedic,” McKinney said. “So she called the paramedics and come to find out I had a stroke on my right side.”

Back then, he said he weighed nearly 500 pounds and was diagnosed with diabetes, however, since then, he’s had three heart attacks, a bout with COVID-19, and two more strokes. The most recent one occurred last year during the height of the global pandemic.

“I mean, strokes ain’t nothing to play with,” McKinney added.

Here are some warning signs of a stroke:

  • A feeling of numbness or weakness in your face that’s noticeable on one side more than the other,
  • Vision problems in one or both eyes, Dizziness or loss of balance; difficulty walking,
  • Confusion
  • Problems speaking or understanding what other people are saying
  • Severe headaches without warning or explanation

This time around, he’s playing for keeps, and going through physical therapy exercises with Kare-In home health therapist Rob Simpson to step up to a healthier way of life.

“Sometimes, maybe half the time your job is trying to be a psychologist, just trying to motivate the patient, but Mr. McKinney already has that part under control so it’s just us trying to get up and get him back to being functional,” Simpson said.

Simpson also added “Usually in the home health setting, the physical therapist tends to work on the lower extremity, we can cross over and do arm work if we need to. Occupational therapists can cross over and work with the legs. With Mr. McKinney, he’s very fortunate he didn’t have as strong, adverse effects from his stroke as a lot of people have. He’s recovering quite well. I’ve only worked with him a few times. He’s motivated.”

And they say the motivation to get better after a stroke or any health challenge is as important as putting in the physical work.

“You gotta do what you gotta do,” said McKinney.

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