Caroline returns to work - and life - after stroke
The way Caroline describes the day she arrived at Spaulding Cape Cod sounds like a scene right out of a movie - "the sun was shining, the birds were chirping and not a cloud could be found in the sky." This picturesque day was in stark contrast to the morning, one-week prior, when everything changed for Caroline.
Caroline, 38, had just started a new job as a financial analyst for a prominent Boston firm and was preparing for an important meeting when she began to feel ill and see scattered flashes of light. Determined to make a good impression on her new colleagues, she brushed off the symptoms and finished up the day. The following morning Caroline awoke to the sound of her phone ringing. Contrary to her typically punctual self, she had inadvertently slept through her alarm and was hours late to work.
"I remember being so tired that I couldn't even lift my head," said Caroline. She did not wake up again until the following day by the sound of her sister and doorman opening her apartment door. Caroline was so weak she could barely walk and was repeating herself. She was rushed to the emergency room where she was told a blood clot had traveled to her brain, causing a stroke. One week later, stabilized, Caroline was transferred to Spaulding Cape Cod to begin her rehabilitation.
"As soon as I arrived, I was welcomed with warmth, compassion and care," said Caroline. "I felt relieved. I knew I was where I needed to be to really heal."
When Caroline was first admitted, she was having difficulty speaking and swallowing. She also had cognitive issues such as short-term memory loss and with problem-solving and organization activities. Caroline worked closely with her team of therapists at Spaulding to address these challenges through a variety of therapeutic exercises.
"My therapists helped me tremendously," said Caroline. "Here I was, finally in the role I had spent years training for, and suddenly I couldn't recall simple words, do calculations in my head or balance a checkbook. As a financial analyst, this was incredibly frustrating and scary."
"The impairments Caroline experienced from her stroke presented challenges both in her ability to function independently as well as her ability to be able to return to work," said Jan, Caroline's speech-language pathologist. "But she was positive and motivated throughout her time here, which makes a huge difference in recovery."
"Not only did my therapists help me with the physical and cognitive challenges I was experiencing, but they supported me on an emotional and psychological level as well," said Caroline.
Caroline gradually grew stronger, both in mind and body. She is now happily back to work, and enjoys the successes she experiences each day. "I feel so lucky," Caroline explains. "The support of the wonderful community of people who rallied around me and my amazing therapists at Spaulding have gotten me through this journey."