Regina's family has learned to adapt to John's aphasia

With three adult children and a business to run, John’s conduction aphasia has made conversation and communicating more difficult. Regina practices patience and lets others know how to talk with John

My name is Regina Kurtz and my husband’s name is John Kurtz.

He is a self-employed, roofing, windows, contractor. He’s been doing that for the last 29 years.

John had his stroke on December 14th at approximately 3:15 in the morning. He was downstairs and I heard a noise. I asked him to come upstairs to see what the noise was in, in our bedroom and he was fine going up the steps, he laid back down and approximately 10 to 15 minutes later he started thrashing jerky, herky-jerky movements and then he’s slumped onto the floor, and when I turned him over I knew immediately what happening. He had the right side facial drooping and the right weakness of the arm and the leg. He did get the TPA, he got the clot buster and then from there he was life- flighted to the major medical center in Norfolk, Virginia.

At that point they went up through his groin to suck the clot out, but when they were going up they realized that his whole carotid artery was clogged and closed. When the physician came out he told us immediately, he was going to have trouble with speaking, with speech.

We were very luck he had 4 full weeks of outpatient rehab, Monday through Friday 9 to 4… and during that time that’s when I started investigating intensive speech therapy. There was several things that made me want to go with this program. First-of-all, it brought him down closer to family. It got him close to his sister so which was very nice.

Also my husband is a very outdoors. He was always up and moving. He had two ways; he was going or sleeping and that was it, so I knew that if I could get him down here to sunshine and get him out of Virginia where it was gloomy and nasty weather that that, I knew, would help with his spirit. And then also this program gave you a place to stay so you didn’t have that worry on top of everything else.

My children have been very supportive, they’ve really really really been very supportive. Conversation is slow now… its not everybody talking at once and interrupting and things like that. You take the time to wait for John to respond so that he can participate in the conversation because if there is a lot of input, he will shut down. It’s affected each, I’ve three children a daughter and two sons…It’s affected each one of them differently. My middle child, Jake, he he still has quite a few problems with it because he wants his dad back to exactly how he is. My daughter, Sarah and my son Patrick, have kind of gotten the whole concept of it that… you know he’s back but he’s not like he was. This is something he’s going to have to live with and it’s something he’s going to have to learn to deal with and try to be the best that he can be, within his Aphasia.

It’s not all the reading and knowledge and everything you learn on the internet it’s - you need to specifically say to that person this is what’s happened to John, this is what he’s going through. They have to adapt to to his situation because… they can’t just talk to him the way they used to, they have to wait for his response. You have to, you have to be patient, you can’t say the words for him, you’ve got to let the words come to him, let him say them and I really feel that if anything, aphasia teaches you patience.