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Recovered from a Stroke, Part III

Sorry to have waited so long for Part III. There will be one more part about what I took away from the experience. I hope I can get around to it more quickly than this.

My physical, occupational, and speech therapy took place at HealthSouth on the Geisinger campus. The physical therapy applied to my right leg while the occupational therapy, to my right arm. The physical and occupational therapy didn’t frighten me; the speech therapy worried me. I had little knowledge of transcortical aphasia, and really had less knowledge of what the therapy did.

I only knew of cases where there had been severe in irreparable damage to the left hemisphere. I was banking on the fact that there had been no damage done to my left hemisphere, but who knows?

Speech therapy turned out to be conceptual, semantic therapy.  There were math problems, such as toting up my checkbook register. I was also presented with puzzles such as we see in newspapers: what is missing from this picture, can you show me the X in that picure, what is out of place in this picture.

I could not write at the beginning, could not sign my name. We had to carry out the payroll through PayPal. Jeffrey attended to that. But after a month with Lisa and Cathy my writing began to improve materially.

I also began walking, though not without the help of a piece of duct tape on my right shoe toe. My right foot was still dragging, so the tape helped me slide it along.

Then a funny thing happened. A blood clot was discovered in my leg and I was sent back to Geisinger Medical Center. There they discovered several small clots in my lungs and put me on a blood thinner. It took five days to get the blood thinner up to acceptable levels.

The strange thing was, while I could not walk unassisted before I left HealthSouth, the second day back at Geisinger, I could–without further physical therapy.  (The use of a couple of my fingers also returned.)

This was comforting news, for it confirmed the idea that there had been no damage to my left hemisphere and, after the swelling caused by the surgery subsided, I would return to my normal state. The next question was:  how much of my normal state would I recover?

Well, to make a long story short, I am now fully recovered. I tried a little outpatient therapy but saw no reason to continue it so long as it was a matter of my brain healing. I forgot a few words that I knew, but then I remember a few I had had difficulty recalling before my surgery. My ability to touch type is back to normal and I’m playing the piano again. Though I forgot a few passages, I don’t know if that was caused by my “bleed” or simply by not practicing for three months.

Apparently, Dr. Darren Jacobs had done an excellent job. Everyone at HealthSouth were wonderful, especially Faith Mummey, who woke me every morning with her laughter. This is not to derogate from the entire staff who attended me cheerfully and efficiently. I only knew their first names and as the memories of my 73 years comes flooding back, I’m afraid they have washed them all away.

2 Responses to “Recovered from a Stroke, Part III”

  1. Sam Alcorn Says:

    Robert,

    Glad to read you are doing well. I’ll point to your blog post on Geisinger’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. (I’m now at Geisinger handling social media and newsroom activities.)

    It’s a really nice piece of writing.

    Sam

  2. Robert Beard Says:

    Thanks, Sam. I think everyone at HealthSouth is familiar with the website by now. The news spread like wildfire. I had people coming up to me that I hadn’t worked with mentioning it. A pointer on Geisinger Twitter and Facebook accounts would be nice.

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