Melissa's Story

Battling back from a brain injury

It was late March and Melissa Jasinski, 52, was at home with her daughter, Sam.

The seventeen-year-old heard her mother in the bathroom. She was talking without making sense and throwing up. Sam had Melissa lay down in the bedroom. As the day wore on, Melissa became less responsive. Sam called her grandparents who summoned an ambulance.

At the hospital scans revealed Melissa had a brain bleed. She was transferred to a second hospital, placed on a ventilator and had surgery to relieve fluid buildup in her skull.

After two weeks, Melissa was stable enough for her mother, Arlene Jenkins, to consider the next steps. She chose Regency Hospital Porter a critical illness recovery hospital where medically complex patients relearn how to move, speak, eat, breathe and think again.

A physician-led team, including nurses and therapists, created a plan to help Melissa return to her family.

“We were tickled to hear that she was doing some physical therapy and speech therapy,” Arlene said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors were not permitted in the building for the safety of patients and staff.

“We learned about the Lifeline call and video calling,” Arlene said. “This is an awesome service that the hospital provides. We have not seen Melissa for three weeks. We were not allowed to go to the hospital with her in the ambulance nor go to the hospital ER, which was very hard. Our first video call was April 17. That was the first I’d seen of her in three weeks. We have watched her get better and better, stronger and stronger. She has gone from being unconscious to awake and talking to us.”

Physical and occupational therapists worked with Melissa several times each week, helping her sit up in bed, roll over and move to its edge. Nurses moved her into a chair for meals. Occupational and speech therapists also worked on speaking and cognitive exercises to sharpen Melissa’s mind.

“On May 3, we were speaking with our Lifeline contact, Jerrod, when our call waiting showed Melissa’s cell number ringing in,” Arlene said. “I could not believe my eyes. She was actually calling us. That was HUGE. We talked for 16 minutes. Some of the conversation was normal, some not so normal, but we were thankful to have it.”

Arlene said Melissa has recovered beyond the family’s wildest hopes. The nurses have been stand-in family members, giving her support when she needed it.

“We are hopeful. Everyone at Regency has been God-sent,” Arlene said.

Melissa spent time in an inpatient rehabilitation hospital, where she continued to build strength. On May, 20 she returned home.

Arlene was thrilled to report Melissa recently celebrated a birthday and is successfully working with various outpatient therapists three times a week.