Bonnie Gordon was slalom skiing on Gull Lake near Hickory Corners, enjoying the company of her family, the water’s cool spray and the warmth of an August morning. Then she began to feel winded.
“All of a sudden everything was blurry, and I was in the water,” Bonnie said.
Family members got her onto the boat’s swim platform and back to the dock.
“That’s when I began to see signs of a stroke,” said her husband, Jim. “We called 911 immediately.”
Bonnie was transported to Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, where doctors confirmed she’d experienced a stroke. Its affects were serious. Bonnie couldn’t move and needed mechanical ventilation to help her breathe. Two weeks later, doctors recommended she begin rehabilitation.
“We were concerned, with what she’d been through, that she couldn’t handle intensive therapy,” Jim said. “But Mary Free Bed’s reputation for caring for people, its level of medical expertise, particularly in stroke recovery … we thought, this is one of the best places, not only in the city or state but in this part of the country. We wanted to get her there as soon as possible.”
Bonnie came to Mary Free Bed on Aug. 26 and was admitted to the Intensive Medical Rehabilitation program. Doctors, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and other interdisciplinary specialists joined together with Bonnie’s family to support her recovery.
As she made gains, Bonnie made it clear she had one primary goal. She wanted to walk down the aisle at her daughter Kimmy’s wedding on Oct. 26 in Charleston, South Carolina.
“Team Bonnie” rose to the occasion.
Here’s her story: