Margot's story

Margot Lowe reaches for a balloon in the air during therapy.

Margot Lowe was shopping during lunch break but she couldn’t shake a headache on the right side of her head. She managed to squeeze in lunch with coworkers, but fell while walking out of a sandwich shop. She lost all feeling on her left side and her colleagues called 911.

In the ambulance ride the 42-year-old mother of three focused on one thing, “It is my daughter’s third birthday today, I will not die.”

Doctors in the emergency room diagnosed a large bleed on the right side of Margot’s brain.  Rushed into surgery, doctors repaired the burst vein causing the bleeding. The surgery was successful and after 11 days, Margot was stable and ready to continue her recovery at Riverside Rehabilitation Hospital. The healthy 42-year-old fitness devotee was determined to get back to her family and active lifestyle.

Margot’s physician-led interdisciplinary care team evaluated her and put a plan in place to get her back to her life. “The first day, I did a balance test, and I thought I did pretty well, but I really didn’t, I was a high fall risk,” Margot said.

Physical therapy (PT) got to work on building her strength and balance. Upper and lower body exercises in the therapy gym with weights and resistance bands helped improve her endurance and build muscle strength. Therapists kept her on track during treatment sessions which boosted her safety awareness and confidence.

Occupational therapy (OT) helped Margot increase her coordination through flexibility exercises with yoga blocks and upper body strength training with weights. Her team added a dose of fun to therapy with a balloon toss game focused on balance and left arm coordination. Functional gains made in therapy helped Margot with tasks such as getting in and out of the tub and on and off the toilet, brushing her hair and teeth, and bathing and dressing.

Margot continued to improve quickly over the next week. “I moved up! I started with a hemi walker, then a quad cane, and finally a (single-point) cane,” Margot said. “I knew when I could finally wiggle my toes that everything was working again!”

Margot’s family and friends were her biggest cheerleaders and supporters. Their daily visits played a huge role in her recovery. Her husband Ryan kept her spirits high showing up every night with dinner.

After two weeks at Riverside Rehabilitation Hospital, Margot was walking with a cane for support and independently managing household tasks such as cooking and cleaning as well as self-care needs like grooming and dressing. She was ready to return home to her husband and children and plans to continue building strength through outpatient therapy.

Margot’s thinking every day in rehabilitation serves as an encouragement to others: “Yes, this is challenging, but I am ok and I get to watch my kids grow up.”