Sunday, December 9, 2012

Survivor Story - Carol Evans

Interview by Chuck Hofvander

Carol Evans sometime between November 24-28 2005

Carol has no memory of what happened after that Thanksgiving morning and for four days after that. She says “I didn’t know who made meals”. That Thanksgiving afternoon and night she was confused, her words were garbled, and she couldn’t walk for a time but no one took note of that.

On Sunday, the 28th, before Carol went to church, she got into the car and started to drive but Carol didn’t have any idea where her destination was; luckily I didn’t kill myself or someone else.” When Carol finally arrived at church she walked unsteadily, without propose. That evening, she fell into the Christmas tree. Her family called her doctor but because it was Sunday the call was answered by the doctor’s answering service. Her family explained the symptom’s and was told the doctor would contact them.

Monday morning came and she was driving to work at a local school when her cell phone rang but she didn’t know how the call should be answered. It was a lucky thing she was driving her grandson and he answered the phone. It was her doctor, he instructed Donna’s grandson to get her to the hospital right away. Carol had had a stroke. After treatment at the first hospital she was transferred Van Mater Rehab Hospital and she described herself “I was a 54 year old woman with bumper pads”.

Carol’s family should have known the warning signs of stroke however they didn’t. They should have known because her mom had a stroke. They didn’t know how important it was to get Carol to the hospital right away.  The family didn’t know how important it is to have support when you’re in rehab and at home.

Now that Carol’s recovered; don’t kid yourself no one ever recovers from stroke for example she says “I had a spot removed from my leg and it was bleeding but instead of bandaging it I ignored it, I just said it was ok.” Carol goes on “ whenever someone says go to the doctor I listen. I’ve got to be careful; I don’t realize I could be in a life or death situation”.

Not only that, Carol gets upset when things get out of the normal routine. She gets upset when things are changed from eating breakfast, to going to bed, going to the store, whatever. Changes in routine set her off.

When asked how she looks at life now she responds:  “At first I was in a shell when it happened. I was afraid to go out in public; I couldn’t do shopping in stores of the large size and all those people. My brain couldn’t handle it.” She was afraid to start new things, she was afraid of meeting new people, and doing something different.

Now Carol’s attitude to life has changed “I’ve got to look on the bright side now, I don’t know if I will get better but I’ve come a long way”. She now says:  “I feel like I fit in, I feel that people accept me as I am. They don’t feel sorry for me.”

Carol reveals that “there is someone worse than I am” and it makes her want to try harder and do better. Carol goes on: “I’m back, I have goals, I could be lying in a hospital and I’m not.”  

Her advice for ones that had a stroke: “Never give up, to keep on fighting, move forward, to get involved with other people so they can see there is hope down the road.”

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