Andi Hostetter

Andi Hostetter and her husband are adventurers, enjoying traveling and camping whenever possible. But during a recent trip to Tahoe, their adventures nearly became a thing of the past.

While staying in a secluded area with no cell phone service, Andi began to feel like she was having an out-of-body experience. She remembers trying to make the bed in their RV, and no matter what she did, Andi couldn’t make it work. Her husband came in to speak with her and noticed her speech wasn’t right. This encounter sparked concern, and he left for the nearest café to call emergency services.

A dentist, eating with his wife at the café, offered to return to the RV with Andi’s husband, hoping to be of assistance. Upon their arrival, the dentist suggested that Andi eat something, convinced she was famished. Desperate to provide Andi some relief, her husband returned to the café to get her some food. Thankfully, the EMTs arrived at the RV at the same time he did. Andi was having a stroke, and eating anything could have significantly worsened the situation.

The EMTs drove Andi to a nearby field, where a helicopter transported her to Renown Medical Center in Reno. Upon arrival at the hospital, Andi received tPA, which breaks down blood clots. Unfortunately, it turned out that Andi was severely allergic to the medication and began to swell. With her throat swelling rapidly, they intubated her quickly.

So much had happened in a short amount of time. Once she finally stabilized, Andi faced a significant challenge to reverse what had just happened and return to her everyday life. At this point, Andi could not speak or swallow, only grunt or growl, and she had lost the ability to walk.

Despite living in Moral Bay, Andi and her husband decided on San Joaquin Valley Rehabilitation Hospital for her post-stroke recovery. They had both heard great things about SJVRH in the past, and all their family and support live in the Central Valley. So, the decision to transfer Andi to SJVRH for intensive therapy was easy.

Though it was a long journey through inpatient and, later, outpatient therapy, Andi was determined to get back as much of her life as possible.

“I’ve come a long way,” Andi reflected. “It’s really been a miracle that I can talk as much as I do.”

Andi credits much of that success to the team that surrounded her at SJVRH.

“I’ve had a lot of wonderful speech therapists and physical therapists,” she said. “Just everyone here. It’s been great! These people are behind you, guiding you, giving you instruction, leading the way. They are really helpful. To me, that’s what’s so important. They really did make a difference! Everyone here knew what they were doing and knew what was right for me.”

Andi can now walk and talk again and looks forward to many more adventures with her loving husband.