One woman’s road to recovery |

One woman’s road to recovery

by Aurora Sain
Susan on her therapy equipment.
Special to the R-C |

It only took a moment for a 34-year Gardnerville resident’s life to completely turn upside down.

Susan Baumruck, 63, would have been considered very active and in good health when she had a hemorrhagic brain bleed last Oct. 22.

Susan loved to hike, and was proud of climbing Mt. Whitney, Half Dome in Yosemite and Jobs Peak.

She also frequently did yoga and worked out regularly at Pulse Fitness and was a nurse at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center.

“I guess if it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody,” said Baumruck.

The day of the incident, Baumruck went to her regular workout but after she went home not feeling very well.

When she decided to finally get up and go to Walmart, she couldn’t put her car into park because she stopped being able to use her right arm.

She rolled down the window and asked a passerby to call 911.

When emergency officials showed up, they had her Careflighted to Renown, and she was in brain surgery within the hour.

While her doctor was able to stop the bleeding, he was never able to pinpoint a reason as to why her brain bled in the first place.

“It wasn’t cancer and it wasn’t an aneurism,” said Baumruck. “He just said to me ‘You won the wrong lottery.’”

Baumruck spent the next 131 days in the hospital, moving from Renown ICU, Renown Rehab and Life Care Center of Reno.

She had to learn to do basic everyday things like swallow, walk and use her right arm.

She went to speech therapy and learned how to be independent in a wheelchair.

Baumruck was finally able to come home on March 1 of this year and begin on her road to recovery.

She needed a RT300, which is a bike type machine that helps people with neurological problems.

The machine hooks up electrical pads that help stimulate the various parts of her body to help her walk and use her arms.

Baumruck said that the machine has allowed her the ability to move her arm more and raise her shoulder up.

When she requested the machine, the insurance company that she was under said that they wouldn’t cover any exercise equipment.

It took letters from five doctors and five physical therapists to convince the insurance company to cover the cost of the equipment, which is around $18,000.

Baumruck credits her recovery to her husband Al, supportive friends and Carson Valley United Methodist.

“He’s been incredibility supportive,” Baumruck said of her husband. “You’ve got to have a good support team.”

They got help from around 30 different friends to rebuild the bathroom and build wheelchair accessible ramps in the home.

While 60 percent of the left side of her brain was damaged, Baumruck is hopeful that she will make close to a full recovery.

“The main thing is for people not to give up,” said Baumruck.