My Sister’s Story

My sister, Maggie, and I have been very close all our lives even though I now live in Florida and she lives in West Virginia. We are only 18 months apart in age. Five years ago I had an ablation surgery to correct my A-Fib so Maggie spoke to her doctor and ablation was scheduled for her. My A-Fib was newly diagnosed but she had had it for many years. My surgery went well….hers ended well but soon after, while still in recovery, she suffered a stroke. It removed her ability to speak and also to communicate by writing. She is imprisoned in her own body without being able to tell people what she needs, how much she loves them, and all the blessings of just small talk with friends and family. Next month, her inability to communicate with words will hit a 5 year mark.

She receives loving care, but life is so frustrating for her. Her husband has learned to anticipate many of her needs. However, when she was having headaches, she didn’t know how to tell him. When it got so bad, she cried and pointed to her head, an examination showed a brain bleed and she was back in the hospital. Her step daughter takes care of her daily personal needs and makes her laugh. She is terrific and makes life so much better for Maggie.

Initially, stroke rehab helped her recover from the limited use of her right side and she was moving about well. She has suffered a setback and now moves very slowly with a walker, often losing her balance and falling. She was in good health and regularly exercised before the stroke.

I have prayed for a program to help her. Several things have been tried and given up on. She is now in Musical Therapy and showing progress. The therapist has her making new sounds and the singing seems to be activating brain neurons. It is a very exciting and promising program. My prayer is that I will be able to have a conversation with my sister, Maggie, again.