Intensive therapy was the right decision for John's challenges

John was frustrated with his slow progress before intensive. Melissa relates that he’s hopeful, happier, and .can sometimes get out many sentences in a row now. As a serious person, John appreciated the knowledge and professionalism of the program

We decided to come down here for intensive when John was at six months post-stroke. We did look across the country and the reason why I decided intensive, one would be thing we needed to do for John. He was getting very frustrated in Seattle. Therapy was just going very slow. I didn’t feel like his therapists, even though they were competent people, really understood his challenges or even challenged him enough.

John is extremely intelligent, very dedicated, very driven person and so many times they treated him like he was either a child or they treated him like he was well into his 80s. He’s not, he’s 55 years old.

When I reviewed it with John, he really liked the curriculum. He liked the questions that you asked. “What are your goals? What do you want to do?” Those types of things. He liked that it seemed serious. John wasn’t interested in doing art therapy or music therapy. For him, those weren’t good matches.

I instantly connected with Brian. It was from a personal perspective. I just want John to be able to have some independence. Right now he still relies on me a lot, and that’s very frustrating for him that he just doesn’t have remotely the level of independence he had before. For him to find some freedom, and be happy and for him to find some hobbies.

John was a little nervous about coming. He was investing a lot emotionally and mentally into what this program would be. It’s really a good fit for him. John doesn’t want people saying he’s doing good if he’s not. He’s not someone who thrives on that sort of behavior. So everyone was very professional, so we got to meet a variety of different therapists, who maybe every approach was a little different. Everybody was very professional and very honest about his level of speech or language and where he was, where they thought he could be, and sometimes they kind of give him a push. Sometimes they worked him really hard. Sometimes he’d even get angry “I can’t do that” but then he’d do it. But that really got him going.

One thing that has been a gift has been having some time to just explore the city, read a book, just the opportunity to do something new that was for ME was, you know you do what you have to do in life to make things happen and take care of someone. But it’s easy to forget that you have to take care of yourself, too. And I was definitely someone who forgot. Just having that little bit of time to reset was huge. I’m a better caregiver and John and I have a better relationship because I’m more relaxed. Knowing that he’s in the right hands and I don’t have to constantly be questioning ‘is this the right person? Is this the right homework? Is this the right task?’ because I do that all the time in Seattle.

Being here, it’s the first time since his stroke that I went “I have made the right decision”. Now he is smiling again, he’s joking, which he wasn’t doing post-stroke and he’s hopeful. He’s the one whose ‘you’re coming back down in six months”, I thought I was going to be the one to bring it up. But he was like “when are we going to come back?” so that is huge. And he can write, he wasn’t writing at all. He could sometimes write a letter for something, like the start of something, but now if we get stuck on something and we’re trying to communicate, he’ll write it out, which is huge. He’s using the Kindle to listen and follow along because it highlights his World War 2 books, and so none of that was happening in Seattle. It was so nice to see him return to something he enjoys doing. He had a bigger vocabulary before we left Seattle, but he couldn’t connect the words. So even though he could get individual words out, sometimes you just couldn’t follow what he was trying to tell you because he couldn’t connect enough words to make it coherent. So now I’m starting to take it for granted, because he’ll get three sentences out in a row. Not always, but he’s clearly comprehending better and in response to that, he’s now connecting words together, which he didn’t do before.

He’s starting to be able to multitask again. In Seattle, it was hard for him to switch tasks, so he’s gotten so much better at that.

The Aphasia Center
6830 Central Ave, Ste. A.
St. Petersburg, FL, 33707
Tel/Fax: 727 823 2529 / [email protected]