So if you didn’t know I am on Twitter. I follow a select group of people one of whom is @threegirldad.
Now I must say that there are very few things on Twitter that I would recommend and then there was this from @threegirldad:
10 years ago yesterday, my wife dismissed one of her college classes early because she was unable to remember some of her lecture material. “I guess I’ve been pushing myself too hard,” she said that evening. “At least I have the weekend to recharge.”
10 years ago today, as we were leaving the house, my wife pointed to the front door and said, “What is that thing called?” I called our doctor’s emergency contact number, described her symptoms to a nurse, and heard these words:
Get her to an Emergency Room as quickly as you can without endangering yourself or others. Every minute counts.”
When we arrived at the ER, she was immediately taken to an exam room, and then off to another area for an MRI.
About 15 minutes later: “Your wife has had a stroke. We are admitting her straight to ICU.” That evening, we had our diagnosis: a “minor” hemorrhagic stroke. There was relatively little damage evident. She had some weakness, but would spend one week in a Rehab facility.
The week in the Rehab facility was uneventful, while positive. She was regaining strength, and the outlook was full recovery in a few months. The next Saturday, about an hour before she was supposed to be discharged, it was clear that something had gone terribly wrong overnight
She was taken back to the hospital by ambulance, and admitted again to ICU. A second MRI revealed a second, and far worse, stroke…cause unknown. Multiple scans of various kinds followed, none providing any answers. Then, finally, one last procedure found what the others missed:
A tumor that was obscured by the bleed caused by the first stroke. Emergency surgery was scheduled; the surgery lasted about seven hours. The surgeon told us that the tumor was encapsulated, and he was confident that he removed it all without causing damage to surrounding tissue.
But the prognosis for physical recovery was now much different. No one could say if she would recover, or to what extent, or how long any recovery might take. Once she was well enough to be transferred out of ICU, assessments began. Verdict:
Months of Physical, Occupational, and Speech therapy lay ahead. She would have to learn how to dress and undress, how to hold special utensils, she required a wheelchair. She would have to learn how to talk again, which turned out to be a greater challenge than anything else.
The stroke affected her speech completely differently than the vast majority of people. She was diagnosed as a “neurogenic stutterer.” The words that she could say weren’t slurred; they were repeated five to six times. *Each* word.
None of the techniques used to assist with recovering from slurred speech helped her at all. Her therapist told us at one session, “In 25 years, I’ve never seen this condition myself. I’ve only read about it. We’re going to have to think differently.”
After weeks of almost no progress, she broke down one day. “How will I ever teach again?” (Remember, each word was repeated five to six times). Then, the magical moment: During a session her therapist said, “I want you to pretend that you are in class giving a lecture.”
That’s when I heard her speak normally for the first time in four months. The stroke had not affected the part of her brain where those memories were stored. It would be roughly a year and a half before her spontaneous speech was as fluid as her “memory bank” speech.
For the rest of her stay in long-term care, PTs and OTs would gather around her during her sessions, and she would pretend to give a Microbiology or A&P lecture while doing rehab. Six months after her second stroke, she was finally able to come home.
There were two setbacks along the way, with shorter stays in long-term rehab. A year and a half after after her strokes, she was able to switch from a wheelchair to arm crutches. Six months after that, she put the arm crutches away for the last time.
2 and 1/2 years after that fate day 10 years ago, I sat in the passenger’s seat of our car while she slowly, anxiously drove around through our neighborhood. “It feels like being a teenager again.”
God has been unspeakably merciful to us. The tumor was eventually diagnosed as benign. She has lived to see our then pre-teen girls become young adults. We thank Him every day for this and so many other blessings.
This is the best thing I have ever read on Twitter.