Surviving a Stroke

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Ken and I were married on May 14, 2011. We were settling into the newness of marriage still when Ken had a massive stroke on August 5, 2011. Ken was in very good health prior to the stroke, no high blood pressure, high cholesterol or health issues at all. He worked out nearly every day and formerly had been a power lifter. He is only 42 years old. We were out at Solomon’s Island at the time of the stroke preparing for a summer weekend at the beach. He had been in the basement of the house we were staying in spraying for spiders. He came stumbling upstairs and I saw that his face was drooping and I thought that the insect repellent had gotten in his eye. We immediately called an ambulance and I attempted to flush his eye out with water. He could not speak and his right side was not moving. The ambulance transported him to Calvert County Hospital where I was informed that he had suffered a stroke. At our request he was airlifted to Georgetown immediately. He had surgery at Georgetown to remove a portion of his skull to allow his brain to swell. Ken suffered a massive left side ischemic stroke which has left him with weakness and paralysis on his right side and affected his speech tremendously. He has expressive aphasia meaning that while he can understand what is being said to him he cannot express his response. He can think the words but can’t say them. Ken was at Georgetown for 12 days in intensive care and then was transferred to National Rehabilitation Hospital for two months. At NRH he had physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy daily. He worked very hard and learned to walk and perform most activities of daily living independently using only his left hand.

We had to move from our apartment while he was in the hospital because he would not have been able to navigate the thirty steps it took to get into our apartment. We found a first floor condo that met most of his needs. He came home on October 12, 2011 and used a walker and wheelchair. He also was wearing a protective helmet because the piece of his skull was still missing and his brain was covered only by the skin on his head. He had reconstructive surgery in December 2011 to replace this piece. We had a live in caregiver for 5 months so I could continue to work. Ken continues to make progress in his recovery each and every day.

Ken is going to come with me to the studio on Monday. Let me know if you need anything else.

Thanks

Michele S. Williams

Chief of Programs

The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness

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