Independent and Proud – Patty’s Story
Patty enjoyed working in her yard every summer, planting flowers, mowing the lawn, and soaking up Mother Nature. It was all therapeutic. She adored her Tiger Lilies and her gardens.
During the winter she favored crocheting, doing crosswords and puzzles, and baking. Patty recalls how she use to make an array of cookies, fudge, and peanut brittle. She loved Christmas even more when she could give others her homemade goodies.
From Chelsey, Michigan, Patty spent over twenty years in payroll. She also has experience as a teller and emergency room receptionist, but she is most fond of her twelve years working with kindergartners, assisting during and after school with lunch, homework and crafts.
June 12, 2012, Patty was working in her yard when she had a stroke. She walked into her home to speak with a family member and passed out. She was in intensive care, in a coma, for six weeks. “I was on a liquid diet for a long time due to the feeding tube, oxygen, and other medical equipment. When I finally woke, the right side of my body was paralyzed. I honestly did not know what was going on. Soon after, I was transferred to a nursing facility; to four different facilities over time, actually, before I was finally back in my own home.
That time in my life was overwhelming, emotional, and remains sometimes difficult to recollect due to the stroke. As I moved from place to place, the reality hit me and I sunk into a deep depression. I started doubting myself and what I was capable of doing. I began to have seizures due to the stroke. To think the possibility of living on my own again was lost to me felt like being hit with a ton of bricks. I lost hope in the tasks and activities I once enjoyed. My life was centered on a set schedule and meals served to me.”
Due to the stroke, Patty underwent surgery to release the tendon in her leg, which had become very tight, making it unbearable to move. Told she would never be able to bend her foot again, and would need the assistance of a brace for the rest of her life, Patty promised herself she WOULD prove them wrong. She WOULD walk independently again.
Though difficult, she kept her own routine and what independence she could. She would try to make her bed every day, practice hand writing and other exercises. “I had to relearn all activities of daily living, even tying my shoes. There were things I could remember and others that were a complete blank.”
“I want to say, ‘Thank You’ to HOME Choice, The Ability Center, and My Care Waiver for helping me with the services needed for my transition back to independent living. Becky Strieff, ACT’s NHT Transition Coordinator assisted with grocery shopping before transition. I had my own place and it was great to not worry about groceries when I left. Tiffany Tierney, ACT’s NHT Community Support Coach, assisted Patty preparing to wrap Christmas presents with community resources and Independent Living Skills training. The Ohio Home Care Waiver and case management assist with my daily needs, such as home care services, RN and aide assistance, the acquiring of a lift chair and other medical equipment I needed. I am thankful for the hospital bed and emergency alert necklace. I feel safe as it is definitely a life saver.
Life is certainly different now than it was several years ago. Today, I would not be able to complete some of the day’s tasks without the assistance of my home care aides. I am thankful for them. As a social person, I try to participate in the many different events at my apartment complex – coffee hour, arts and crafts, movie night, bingo, etc. Finally, I am also thankful for public transportation. I can choose where and when I wish to go. (I love to shop.)
Yes, life is different, but I would like others to know you cannot get discouraged. Remember to have a good outlook in life. I got very angry a year after my stroke. That did not help my progress. I told myself I WILL be happy, and God kept me ALIVE for a reason. I am proud of myself and the accomplishments I have achieved, and I WILL continue to live my life the way I want. Others can too.”