Inside: At the age of 31, with two boys to raise, with a nursing career, and in the middle of training for a half marathon, a stroke was not on my agenda. But this is what it taught me about how to love your children.
Within three months, my world turned upside down.
I’d had a cryptogenic stroke, which left me with Broca’s aphasia and apraxia. Aphasia and apraxia are just fancy medical terms for saying that my expressive communication – speaking and writing – was devastatingly affected.
At the age of 31, with two boys to raise, with a nursing career, and in the middle of training for a half marathon, a stroke was not on my agenda. Strokes very rarely affect someone of my age, but more important than my age was the age of my two children: 4 years old and 15 months.
My kids were much too little, and they needed their mother.
This is what was left of me.
Three days after my stroke, the shock had subsided and the gravity of what disabilities I had been left with came into focus. As much as I tried, communication with the rest of the world was not coming back as easy as I would have liked.
My sister was at my bedside, as she was most of the time that I spent in the hospital. We were working on my speech rehabilitation, which was essentially what you would learn in early elementary school. She was reading out sentences that I was supposed to attempt to write.
I sat cross-legged on my hospital bed with a note pad, trying to write “The dog was black.” I couldn’t do it.
After what seemed like an hour, I scribbled “dog black.” I knew that wasn’t correct. I knew I had missed the connecting words of a sentence, but I had no idea what they were. My internal dialogue could say this simple sentence, but when I opened my mouth or put pen to paper, all I could muster was “dog black.”
Kristen is is mother of two amazing young boys, a Registered Nurse, and a speaker and educator on compassionate healthcare. She’s extremely passionate about bringing more meaningful moments to families, and she loves teaching children about mindful compassionate communication and reminding them how amazing they truly are. Follow her at KristenTraverse.com or on Instagram.