When Nadhia Met Dorothy

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Dorothy was weakened by a stroke, unsteady on her feet and unsure of herself. Since VNSNY physical therapist, Nadhia Robbins, began working with her, Dorothy is regaining her independence and hoping to return to volunteer work at the local kindergarten.

Dorothy is many things: an avid walker, passionate volunteer, president of her apartment building’s board, church-goer, card player, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and even great-great-grandmother. One thing she is not is a quitter.

So when Dorothy suffered a stroke in December, she vowed that she would be back on her feet soon. “My goal is to be walking as I’ve walked all my life,” says Dorothy, a retired education paraprofessional who, at 79, is full of vigor, opinions and hearty laughter. “You’ve got to keep on keeping on,” she declares.

After Dorothy returned home from a rehabilitation facility, physical therapist Nadhia Robbins came to her South Bronx apartment to assess her needs and work on building her strength, balance and ability to walk. “We make sure she’s safe,” says Nadhia, who visits three times a week. “We want to help her become more independent and confident.”

“I was very nervous at first,” says Dorothy, “but now I’m home, I’m back to my life.” Rehabilitation is often most effective in the patient’s home, where the therapist and patient have to work around the real challenges of daily life, from climbing stairs and showering to managing family members’ questions. At home, Dorothy’s daughter Genevieve, who is staying with her mother while she recovers, can also learn and reinforce the exercise program.

“She’s highly motivated and independent and has progressed so well,” says VNSNY occupational therapist Benito Flores, who helped Dorothy regain fine-motor skills.

She is eager to get back to her active life, especially to the kindergarten students, who flooded her mailbox with cards addressed to “Grandma.” “But even if I can’t go back to the kids,” Dorothy says with a smile, “I’ll still volunteer somewhere…maybe at the hospital. I’ll always do something.”

With Nadhia’s help, Dorothy is well on her way. “At first, she was apprehensive, even just standing up from the couch,” says Nadhia. “Now, she takes the initiative and feels more confident. She’s doing so much better.”


For more information on VSNSY's Rehabilitation Therapy program, please call us at 1-800-675-0391 or click here.