occupational therapist assistant; Darlene Mullins; and Camila Hilton, physical therapist assistant

Darlene Mullins had only recently moved to Cleveland from Texas to be part of the ministry at Omega Center International, when she suffered a stroke after having open-heart surgery.


The stroke left her mostly paralyzed on her left side, which left her unable to get around or take care of herself.


“I couldn’t stand,” Mullins remembered. “I really couldn’t walk.”


When Mullins came to Life Care Center of Cleveland at the end of June, she started rehabilitation therapy. Physical therapists worked with her on strengthening and mobility, especially focusing on her lower-body strength and balance. Occupational therapists helped her relearn her functional, self-care skills, like getting dressed and applying makeup.


“When I first started walking, it wasn’t from my legs – it was from my hips,” Mullins said. “Now I can walk.”


The care team helps Mullins remember to check her left side since one effect of the stroke is a neglect of that side.


“I have learned to appreciate the rehab department because without therapy I would be dropping my foot,” Mullins shared. “These ladies [her therapists] are helping me get back my independence, get back my life. If ever I come in with a sour face, they help build me up.”


Mullins’ goal is to leave on Oct. 31 for her sister’s house in Texas so she can continue her therapy over the holidays while living with family.