Karen and Mike

Regaining independence after multiple strokes

For Karen, the first stroke happened in 2018. She lost the ability to speak, read and write, and spent six weeks in the early intervention program at the Glenrose. Since then she’s had two other strokes, the worst one in May, 2020. Mike, her husband of 38 years, was by her side as Karen lost all sensation in her left foot, and in parts of each of her hands, her cheek and tongue. It affected her in so many ways, from being unable to swallow, to losing her mobility and suffering vertigo, dizziness and a loss of depth perception. She lost her speech, her ability to read and even her ability to carry on a conversation naturally. She was devastated by all these losses, but especially having to retire early from the 30-year job she loved as a social worker.

Mike felt helpless as he watched Karen struggle with the pain and loss. Even once she started her rehabilitation at the Glenrose Hospital she would be frustrated when she couldn’t accomplish an activity or complete simple tasks. Her team of therapists and care staff wouldn’t let her be disappointed in herself. They helped her understand what kind of timelines to expect. And they always treated her to direct answers. Karen took that motivation too far sometimes and would work too hard. But they knew when to pull her back a bit, so she wouldn’t get too tired.

“You are walking into a healing space when you walk into the Glenrose. I can’t tell you how precious that is.”

– Mike, Karen’s husband

Today Karen is back home with Mike and can walk, with a walker. She’s still working on regaining abilities as an outpatient at the Glenrose Hospital but she has come so far already.

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