Ken Walsh and his wife, Helen, live in Powell, WY. They have two sons Kenny, 25, and Cole, 23. Ken is a lease operator in the oilfield. He has taken care of two facilities and over 70 wells which included gas collection for the pipeline to Billings, MT. Ken loves all things outdoors. The Walshes have horses and Ken is a hunter. He is fortunate to be able to take multiple weeks off for hunting, including backcountry guide pack trips.
One April day, Ken began having difficulty breathing. He had Helen take him to the local ER in Powell. He was life-flighted to Wyoming Medical Center (WMC) in Casper. At WMC, Ken was intubated, but eventually discharged home after two weeks. He continued to do great until July rolled around.
On July 18th, Ken suffered a stroke. In need of rehabilitation, Ken was provided the choice of several skilled nursing facilities in the Big Horn Basin area. Ken’s brother, an ER physician, recommended Elkhorn Valley Rehabilitation Hospital in Casper. A physical therapist friend also recommended EVRH. When Ken saw that EVRH ranked in the top 10% of rehabilitation facilities in the nation, he made his decision. After ten days at the Billings Clinic, Ken transferred to EVRH. He arrived with little to no use of his right side and completely dependent.
After two weeks, Ken began to experience issues breathing. Doctors at EVRH sent him to WMC to address the increased oxygen needs. Placed on a BiPAP and 15L of oxygen, Ken began to worry. “I thought that was the end,” he recalled. “I didn’t think I was going to make it.” But his respiratory status stabilized at WMC and he transferred back to EVRH.
“Knowing what I know now, I am really glad I came [to EVRH]!” Ken said. “Dr. Mohr and Dr. Swan have invested a lot of time seeing me and I was a challenge. I pushed myself but couldn’t breathe. After adjusting and adding medications, I can breathe better and I can push myself to strengthen my body because I have lost so much.”
‘The staff and therapy have helped so much, even though it took me pushing myself to the limits,” Ken continued. “They are the ones that got me better. They are my heroes. It has been tough with COVID and not seeing friends and family, but it is better to be here and make the best of it. Be open-minded. I have improved so much!’
‘The care the docs give…they care. The care I got is overwhelming and it’s amazing that a person can be treated that well. I wouldn’t trade my stay at EVRH for anything! The staff is incredible. No doubt. Even though EVRH is over 250 miles from home it is worth it!”
Success to Ken is not defined in what you can do, but how you get it done. “I might do things differently now, but I still get the same results. It might take me longer, but I still strive for success no matter how hard the task. I can eat with my hand now and I couldn’t before. I can walk now, and I couldn’t before. My goal is to go hunting again this year and get a deer and hopefully an elk.”