Left to right: Faith Smith, occupational therapist; Lora Bradley, physical therapist assistant; Terrie Weems; Casey Mask, speech-language pathologist; Kelli Rose, occupational therapist; and Tiffany Dalton, physical therapist assistant

In November 2018, Terrie Weems had a stroke that led to hydrocephalus, which refers to fluid building up in the brain and causing it to swell.


Weems underwent a surgery, called a craniectomy, that removed part of her skull in order to alleviate the pressure on her brain and allow it to heal.


Following the surgery, Weems could not stand, balance, perform everyday self-care tasks, communicate effectively with others or swallow without pain.


Weems was admitted to The Heritage Center in Morristown, Tennessee, for rehabilitation on Nov. 21, 2018.


The Heritage Center provided physical, occupational and speech therapies to restore Weems’ mobility, self-care abilities, general cognition, performance of hygiene and self-care tasks and swallowing ability.


Physical therapy used a variety of exercises and equipment to help Weems regain her strength, occupational therapy helped her increase her performance of everyday tasks and speech therapy helped Weems regain general awareness and communication abilities while also teaching her safe swallowing strategies for her food and medicine.


“Physical therapy helped me stand for the first time, and it was amazing,” said Weems. “Occupational therapy taught me how I can do things for myself, and speech therapy taught me to swallow and helped me learn to chew my food properly. I had lost all of that.”


Upon completion of therapy, Weems had regained her balance and required only minimal assistance to ambulate with a walker or wheelchair. She required only minimal assistance or supervision to complete all of the necessary self-care tasks like bathing and dressing. She also completely regained her cognition and communication abilities, as well as her ability to swallow.


“I’ll never forget how good everybody has been here,” said Weems. “You all brought me back and gave me a second chance at life. There really is hope here.”


Weems completed therapy on Jan. 19, 2019, and has returned to The Heritage Center for outpatient therapy services.