When Alena Powell’s husband, Dwayne, suffered several strokes in June, she underwent a dramatic change in her life.
“Everything has been turned upside down,” she said. “You’re used to having somebody with you 24/7 and the house goes to complete silence.”
When Dwayne, 43, visited Hardin Memorial Hospital complaining of dizzy spells and numbness in his cheek, they found his cerebral arteries to be clogged and discovered bleeding inside his brain. His condition soon got worse and he was stat-flighted to the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington and suffered six strokes within the next 48 hours.
Dwayne since has been unable to swallow, close his mouth or close his eyes, which has caused infections in both eyes. He was transferred to Kindred Healthcare in Louisville after six weeks in Lexington. There, he contracted pneumonia three different times from aspirating on his feeding tube.
After six weeks at Kindred, Dwayne was transferred to Kensington Center in Elizabethtown.
Though he cannot speak, Powell said her husband can respond to questions with a “thumbs up” gesture. Through physical therapy, Dwayne now also is able to stand with assistance but still cannot move his arms.
Though Dwayne’s mother has assisted in the recovery process, Powell said the reduction in working hours because of Dwayne’s recovery has been difficult.
A certified nurse assistant, Powell said she now feels confident in letting her husband return to their Cecilia home.
“He’s ready to be here,” she said.
However, in order to bring her husband back, Powell needed to make their home handicapped-accessible. This was made possible after a Facebook post created Friday evening by Powell.
Within an hour of requesting assistance in installing a sidewalk and wheelchair ramp for the home, friends of Dwayne and neighbors began offering their assistance. Over the weekend, 12 volunteers built a ramp for Dwayne and created the basis of a concrete walkway, covering all material costs. Concrete for the sidewalk soon will be provided by SRM Concrete.
“I’m just amazed at how nice people have been and his friends stepping up,” Powell said.
John Crawford, who said he has been a nearly life-long friend of Dwayne’s, was among the volunteers. Crawford helped build the sidewalk Sunday.
“It’s just a shame when a fella that young gets in that kind of a spot,” he said. “Money gets tight and people just need help. If you can afford to help somebody, you should help them.”
Powell also recently created a GoFundMe page to help cover medical expenses for Dwayne as he transitions back into the home. She said he will use a sit-to-stand patient lift machine in the house that was donated by friends.
Powell said she is beyond grateful for the support she has received.
“I can’t say thank you enough to all of these people,” she said.
Powell’s GoFundMe page can be found at gofundme.com/f/medical-need-assistance-in-getting-a-hoyer-lift.