My Recovery

My name is Debbie. Before the stroke, I worked at Rec. and Parks doing many different things. I worked in both the office and the yards. I was the busy mother of four children, Brice, Blair, Beth, and Bud. I also homeschooled my daughter Beth. One day all of the sudden my right side went numb while I was knitting. My right side just wouldn’t work anymore. I was holding water in my right hand and it fell. That’s when I knew something was wrong- I knew I was having a stroke. I knew my daughter Beth, would be home from work any minute and I waited for her. When she got there I said “I’m having a stroke you need to call an ambulance”. When the paramedics arrived, one of them gave me a strange look and I knew something was very wrong. Later, I learned that while I was speaking with the paramedic, one side of my face dropped. I don’t remember much after that, but I do remember trying to speak but I just couldn’t. I also remember lines in my vision, the left side was ok but the right was blurry. After that I have no memory. I was transferred to a new hospital because they didn’t know what to do with me at the first one. I died twice in the hospital. They told my family to come in and say their goodbyes. But, they said “she’s going to get better” and prayed.
I was asleep in the hospital for 5 months and I knew I was healing. Then one day I woke up. I thought that I was ok, but I only had two words (“Jeff” and “Survivor”). In my head I was speaking, but what was coming out wasn’t the same. I didn’t know I was only saying two words. But then, my son Brice looked at me with a blank stare. That’s when I knew. I found out I had something called Aphasia. I had never heard that word before.
Finally, I got to go home. Many of my neighbors came to visit. They were talking a lot asking “how are you doing?”. They thought I would be able to talk like I used to, but I couldn’t. My daughter told them “she can’t talk”. A speech therapist named Susan came to the house for speech therapy 3 days a week. We would talk about pictures and she would help me. I didn’t know the “talking” was helping but it was. One day she said I finished my goals and there was nothing more for us to do. I was better and could say things now.
I like going to SCALE because everyone is like me. I get to talk to many people with Aphasia. When I talk to the other members I understand them and they understand me. Everyone here is different but all are going through the same things. When new members come in after just having a stroke and they can’t talk, I think “that’s like me before”. I think about when Sean came and told me “you’re going to be fine and get better”. I know that the new members will too. The community at SCALE is welcoming. Everyone is pleasant and always talking. When I walk into SCALE I just feel like I’m at the right place for me.