Robin Linville, age 51, was in the emergency room with her brother who was a patient the night of February 9, 2007. She recall she felt anxious, confused and dropped a couple of items. "I just felt like I had to get out of there and get some air and I would be ok. I knew something was wrong but didn't know what- I remember thinking why are people looking at me but not doing anything. I drove my mother home about 11:00 pm and she said I almost it a car. When I woke up and dressed for work the next morning, I felt drained. Spilling my coffee on the table and trying to wipe up the mess, I thought I was saying "sorry".....but my mom couldn't understand what I was saying. She asked me to point to what I was saying. I remember crying knowing that something was really not right."
I was taken to the emergency room that morning around 8 a.m.. I couldn't talk.....babbling. I really don't remember anything until I got to my hospital room. I received care on the neurology unit of the hospital for one week then went to outpatient rehabilitation for speech therapy. Jodi Robinson was the first "hand" to hold knowing that it would be "ok". She wasn't going to let me fall in the cracks and made sure that I could recover. The fog continued for 8 months. Initially I had a pocket communicator given to me by Rebecca,my speech therapist. I persevered and have come back to speech therapy two or three times since that initial referral.
According to Linda, speech therapist, Robin gets the telegraphic parts of speech but the grammatical parts are often lost. Symbol combinations are more difficult, sometimes she can write but not say and sometimes she can say it but not write it. Robin says, "Please be patient with people like us to express our thoughts, we are not retarded, please do not be condescending to us. Cognitive listening. Patience. Frustration and struggle. All of those are Aphasia and Apraxia. Processing the brain. At the time of my hospital visit, I couldn't figure out what a remote was or how to make the channel change. Another important point is that we have to find humor because at first you cry all of the time. And, last but not least be aware of stress and what it can do to you."
Alicia Owens, Coordinator of The Stroke Prevention and Recovery Center says "Robin has learned how to manage her stress. Some of the tools that she has implemented for stress management is exercising, she loves walking. Also, she knows her limitations and has given herself permission to say, "I'm done. I need to stop". The speech therapist calls it working smart not hard."
Robin wants people to know how important it is for families to be supportive and not be embarrassed. There is a lot of fear on everyone's part. The patient, the families, their friends. Working through together is valuable. Her message to all is "Never, ever give up hope. Never put us stroke survivors in a closet, we are thrivers! There is a path, sometimes more detours and challenges than we would like. With the love and support of my family, friends, therapists, medical professionals, SPARC, my journey continues one little step after another."