Erica was left to figure out what to do

Erica was left without any guidance after her husband’s release from the hospital. With her husband’s severe conduction aphasia, he couldn’t work or communicate with her or their kids. His interaction with his children has significantly changed as he is focused on his own issues.

Im Erica Sipe, my husband is Todd Sipe, he is 47 and had a stroke back in September 2016. We’re from Hickory North Carolina and we have two small children, Marin and Breslin, age 10 and 5 and this was a complete shock to us.

So the day of the stroke my mom was visiting and he did not come down that morning so I was just recovering from my breast cancer and I went up to check on him around midnight, around noon and he was… he had locked the door and I couldn’t get in so I thought oh he just wants to sleep. So, went back up about half an hour later the door was unlocked and realized that he was having a stroke all this time and unlocked the door in the midst of it and I found him and then called 9-1-1.

Todd is the owner of a commercial cleaning company. Works non-stop, that was his life. He started this business 20 years ago and made a big success for himself. He would be out there every night at the buildings, talking to people and doing his thing and then after the stroke he was not able to talk, walk, sit up, they actually at one point told us to prepare that he was not going to make it. He was in ICU for quite a while and then I don’t know started making small progress and then they thought “okay he’s out of the woods and he’s going to be, know, able to do stuff” and then after the hospital therapy he kind of, we were just left out with nothing.

I had to find a hospital where he was going to get outpatient speech therapy, outpatient physical therapy and OT and it was just like I was left to fight and figure out for myself what to do, oh my god, what am I going to do and that’s when I started calling around.

He was in an angry frustrated state… you could tell he was hurting, he needed the support but he wasn’t… wasn’t going to get it… the next available hospital to take him in was like two weeks later… I finally did get into a hospital where the speech therapist was wonderful but it was the basic one hour a day speech that wasn’t really helping.

Communication was a breakdown. There was no way that we were communicating at first and so we would, I would write down things, simple words that he could understand and kind of like just fend for yourself like what kind of food do you want, what do you want to drink, just the simple things… He was very much self-centered, I mean it’s all about him right now and so I knew and and that’s the thing about Todd is he’s so determined that he’s going to get better and so I said okay I need to find some, someplace that’s going to make him, or help him get better. Daddy tends to ignore the girls um… and so they have kind of backed off, they’re both seeing counselors now in order to just understand what’s going on with daddy. He keeps saying that once he’s better he’ll get more involved and he’s practicing saying their names and I think… you know he’s, he misses them but he also… he just wants to get better and so their relationship is kind of severed right now and I think it’s going to take time I think when they, when Todd comes back and sees them hopefully that’ll trigger some kind of connection and and… my five-year-old who’s learning the same words as Todd, maybe they’ll be able to get a rapport going where they can practice words together, I don’t know…