by Amanda Larsen, Mary Free Bed writer
Even a motivational speaker can get discouraged. Julie Scheving was very discouraged after a massive stroke. She lost 50 percent of her speaking ability and she lost the use of the right side of her body.
After the stroke, Julie found herself at Mary Free Bed’s Stroke Program very quickly. “I moved from not being sure I would make it to you are going to MFB tomorrow,” Julie recalls.
A nurse informed Julie that she was headed to Mary Free Bed to deal with the damage to the right side of her body, but Julie was more concerned about losing her speaking ability. As a consultant for the Southern Baptist Convention, she speaks to groups around the state and runs a women’s ministry.
When Julie arrived at MFB in mid April 2009, she was discouraged and unmotivated.
“I fought my therapy,” Julie said. “I was feeling sorry for myself and would have just moped in my room. I know that I wasn’t the best patient, but they pushed me in the best way to improve.”
With a combination of physical, occupational, speech, and recreational therapies, Julie got right to work. She spent 28 days in inpatient care at Mary Free Bed.
Her recreational therapist, Jenny, was very influential. “She pushed me to reconnect with others. I didn’t want to be on facebook, but she said I need the support,” Julie said. “Her patient insistence won me over.”
Now, Julie has over 700 friends on facebook and is able to use the connections to support others. In occupational therapy, they discovered that she had lost sight in her right eye. “My therapist, Jason, worked with me until we found solutions to everyday situations,” Julie recalls.
Julie remembers seeing other patients further along in the healing process and being encouraged that there was hope. She also saw patients who were behind her and feeling confidence in her growth. As an expert in motivation, Julie found the mix of temperaments and styles among the therapists to be a positive force.
“Some would give me information on why my body was responding in certain ways,” Julie said. “Other therapists would be full of encouragement, and some wouldn’t let me get away with anything. I needed them all to grow and heal.”
Regaining her speaking abilities was critical to Julie’s recovery. At the time of the stroke, Julie would answer a question about the range of colors with, “Blue, blue, blue.”
“I was frightened, because I couldn’t find the right words to communicate,” Julie remembers.
Prior to her stroke, Julie had a gift for communicating to others in creative ways they could hear. The thought of losing those skills was devastating. However, through the speech therapy, Julie rediscovered her voice.
Even though she spent only four weeks at Mary Free Bed, Julie still uses the skills she gained. After emergency surgery in 2011, Julie implemented the strategies and lessons from Mary Free Bed to recover quickly.
“I know how to strengthen myself again, because of what I learned at Mary Free Bed,” Julie said. “My time at MFB was a gift. It was the launching pad for me. I could not come close to living a normal life without my time at Mary Free Bed.”
Julie’s normal life includes driving again after a grueling 2 hour test, using an outline to speak to churches and women’s groups, and connecting with those around her. She is back to motivating thanks to the care and motivation of the team at Mary Free Bed.
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