Gayle’s Story

Gayle’s Story

For most people, November 1, 2016, was just another Tuesday. For Gayle Fisk, it was the day her life changed in an instant.

“I woke up that morning, [and] I was going to mow. I felt fine.”

That’s how November 1, 2016, started for Gayle Fisk. The day ended very differently.

By the end of that fateful Tuesday, Gayle was in the ICU after contracting sepsis: the body’s extreme, and life-threatening, response to an infection. Her condition was serious. So serious, in fact, that a month later, sepsis had taken both of Gayle’s legs below the knee, her left hand below the wrist, and the fingers on her right hand.

Gayle now has prosthetic legs and an adaptive, prosthetic arm. With the help of hospital staff and advanced technology, she is learning how to use them to safely walk and complete self-care activities.

It’s all taken a toll on Gayle, both physically and mentally: “When you’re 70 years of age and you’re learning to walk again, learning to write, and learning to eat, it is… It takes a toll on you.”

But this isn’t a story of sadness. It’s a story of hope — because throughout her journey as a sepsis survivor, Gayle has remained a source of positivity and determination. She’s even gained a new family during her recovery: the team at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of San Antonio.

“I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of the people here and the work they did with me,” Gayle says. “From the nurses to the physical therapists to the occupational therapists. I mean, they’re just uplifting of spirits.”

The team at Encompass Health San Antonio surrounded Gayle with experience, rehabilitation, and high-quality care. The nurses and therapists made sure Gayle was “never alone” on her journey to independence — always there for her physically to help her out of bed in the morning, and emotionally to bring a smile to her face.

Like many sepsis survivors, Gayle’s recovery process is a long one, but she has one particular end goal in mind: her favorite hobby, golf.

“I am going to be out there on the course again playing. … I’ve already got a pro in town who will work with me, and teach me how to re-swing on legs that don’t move exactly like normal legs do. And with an adaptive device on this arm, be able to swing a club.”

We’re so inspired by Gayle and her team at Encompass Health San Antonio! You can watch her video and learn more about Gayle’s story here.