My name is Tracy Green and I am a stroke survivor. On November 10, 2007 it was a beautiful Saturday and I went to buy a new car. I picked it out and went home to have a sandwich and watch the Missouri football game. I went back to the car dealership to take my car home. I wasn’t feeling well and I had to wait for the F & I person so I went outside to have a smoke. I continued to feel worse so I sat in my car. My salesman would check on me every 30 minutes or so. Finally at 6 pm the dealership closed and they decided to drive me home. They would not call 911 for an ambulance. I arrived at my apartment at about 6:30 pm. I took my dog for a walk, fed him then went to sleep. I was in my apartment all day Sunday by myself and finally the police, paramedics and apartment manager found me on Monday afternoon around 2 pm. All my speech was gone and I was dazed and confused. I was transported to the hospital with a diagnosis of stroke.
The next day my employer fired me and the next day he took my health insurance away. No speech, no job and no way to pay the hospital. It took about a week for me to come out of the “fog”. Since I had a left side stroke I had right side deficits. At the hospital, I had a speech therapist, a physical therapist and a occupational therapist working on and with me. Before the hospital released me after 17 days, they took me to my apartment with a physical therapist to make sure I could take care of myself.
Still I could not talk at all. I could not drive. I had no income. I was at home for 10 days and then had another ride in an ambulance due to pneumonia. It was a tough month. My closest relatives lived 100 miles away. After a while I became frustrated and depressed. I felt alone. I felt that I was the only person to have a stroke. Finally I had a chance to see my primary doctor to talk about my depression. He prescribed an anti-depressant and it really changed my outlook on life.
I started speech therapy as an outpatient three times a week. This time while I had therapy I learned about the stroke support group run by the hospital. With the help of the state of Illinois I was able to attend my first stroke support meeting. My life exploded in such a GOOD way! Even though I could not talk very well almost immediately I was accepted by everyone in the meeting. I almost cried from joy. Quickly I became involved in the group. As my speech improved and my anti-depressant helped keep me level I was getting my life in back in order.
I found another stroke support group so I joined it. After only a couple of months they were having elections for officers and I decided to run for president. I won and was president of this group, with about 100 survivors in our directory, for five years.
My point about all of this is stroke support groups work. Survivors help survivors and caregivers help caregivers. Now we have a chance to have some fun here on the coast.
Newport 60+ Activity Center Coordinator Peggy O’Callaghan says she’s talked with Tracy Green and wants to help support what he’s doing. Peggy says she is providing space for “Stroke Survivor” meetings at the Center. So if you’ve had a stroke or are a family member or friend of someone who has suffered a stroke, check it out at the Newport 60+ Activity Center, right behind Newport City Hall. Call the Center at 541 265 2617 for more info.