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Jodi C.
Jodi C.
Survivor

Tracey E.
Tracey E.
Survivor

Babe & Jean
Babe & Jean
Caregiver & Family

Emily D.
Emily D.
Survivor

Valerie G-S
Valerie G-S
Survivor

Donna R.


Survivor

It started 4/11/09 (Saturday morning) I woke up with a terrible headache.  I told my husband (Tom Richardson) to get me some water and an aspirin, and then I said no, just some ice, then I said never mind, just call 911.  Then I returned to bed (big mistake).  They told my husband not to let me go to sleep, but I was already gone.   At one point in this whole experience, I died and went to heaven, where I was told by my uncles that GOD was not ready for me and I was to go back.  He must have something special for me to do.

Brian Micheliche (EMT) came to my house and said I was gray.  He revived me, established an airway and put me on oxygen, then got me to the Memorial Hospital in Easton, MD.  I was in there for about 3 hours and then they transported me by ambulance (due to weather conditions) to John Hopkins Hospital that could do the surgery needed.  They had a crew waiting for me to arrive.

You need a very dedicated caregiver during the whole time, that being my husband Tom). During all of this, he did not know what my condition was, until the doctor came out and told him, I was alive and that he took out part of my cerebellum.

Then they transported me to Sinai Hospital, the brain injury rehab, where I did therapy two times a day.  I was there about seven weeks.  The Sinai Hospital finally was able to take out my tract, but left in the feeding tube and catheter.

They then transported me closer to home to a rehabilitation facility, The House of Pines.  There I continued my therapy.  They did take out my catheter.  They finally got me to eat, so they removed my feeding tube a day later.  I was there about 4 weeks.

After that I was sent home, where about 35 people (all of my neighbors) met me in my front yard (I was so glad to be home).  I did in home therapy for two weeks.  Then I did out-patient therapy in Easton for about a year.

Then I went to The Balance Center in Cambridge for about 6 months and did more therapy.  They taught me how to walk again and how to do my every day chores.

Now I am home again with therapy instructions and I continue those today. I can go back to The Balance Center if needed.

I am still doing well after 4 years and 5 months.  I am currently going to Aquacare for therapy to help my balance. Then they have an out-patient speech therapy I am going to do next, so I don’t bite my tongue when I talk.

When I went to my retirement party, because I could no longer do my job, as payroll clerk, my EMT- Brian wrote a letter because he could not attend. (Brian means the world to me and I will never forget him for giving me back my life, to have a second chance at living).  I will do my best to prove to him what he did was worthwhile. I hope he continues on as an EMT’s, because they all are good at what they do and they found there niche in life).


Here is the letter he wrote to me, which I have framed on my wall.

Dear Donna:

First I must send my apologies for not being able to attend your party.  As this letter is being read I am sure to be in Biology class watching my professor darting back and forth around the room, spewing out the knowledge she collected over the years and I am probably scratching the top of my head wondering what on earth compelled me to go back to college!  But the reason being is that we are allowed only one missed class and we have been advised to save it for a true emergency, believe me when I tell you that I would much rather be at your party than sitting in class!

With that said, I have requested this letter be read so I could take the opportunity
to thank you for making my work complete. If I may explain, as you know I have been working in the emergency field for quite some time now. In that time I have been witness to both the spectacular glory and the horrible tragedies of life. Humbly I can say that I have saved my share of lives, but in the same breath have lost or been unable to save countless others. Over the latter years, the horrors of my job have been weighing heavily on my mind. To the point that I would sit up some nights and feel as though people in general have taken life for granted and really don’t appreciate it as much as they should.

Sadly, in the past 29 years of my service, not once have I ever been shown the thanks or gratitude for saving someone's life…until that day you showed up at my work in Tilghman Island and personally thanked me, to see and hear you say that brought tears of joy to my eyes and it is for that Donna, that I thank YOU, from the bottom of my heart because it was YOU that completed the part that was missing from my life.

Keep up the therapy and keep reaching for the stars. I wish the best to you and your family.  Godspeed.

You’re friendly neighborhood Paramedic

Brian Micheliche

 

I want to thank all paramedics and ambulance crew for doing the work they do. If they did not put their own money and effort into their education, I would not be here today.   They are dedicated workers and I THANK YOU!



 

 

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Display of the Faces of Stroke stories does not imply National Stroke Association's endorsement of any product, treatment, service or entity. National Stroke Association strongly recommends that people ask a healthcare professional about diagnosis and treatment questions before using any product, treatment or service. The views expressed through the stories reflect those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of National Stroke Association.

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