Support group helping patients recover after stroke

PADUCAH — By the time you finish reading this story, at least three people will have had a stroke somewhere in the United States.

Strokes are the No. 1 cause of disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical therapy is the best way to recover after experiencing a stroke, but research suggests social support is highly important, too.

Jason Anderson says everyday is a blessing after he survived a stroke at 44 years old.

“Everyday is a blessing,” Jason Anderson said. So is every step, every twist of a water bottle cap, and every word that comes out of his mouth.

“I’m Jason Anderson. Had a stroke back in 2014,” Jason said, introducing himself to the Stroke Support Group at Baptist Health Paducah.

It’s a safe space for him. The people in the group have all lived very different lives, but stroke has brought them together. Some have survived one. Others are caretakers to survivors.

Sue Herron was talking on the phone when she suffered a stroke.”And then, all of a sudden, my speech garbled,” Herron said.

Jim Walters’ symptoms weren’t typical. “Dizziness, and nausea, and weakness,” he recalled.

Sue Watson was at the printer at work. “Paralyzed. I couldn’t, in fact, I leaned against the filing cabinet because I couldn’t, you know, I couldn’t walk,” Watson said.

Baptist Health Paducah’s Stroke Support Group

Anderson was getting ready for the day when it happened. “The whole time I was getting dressed, it was just like moving in slow motion,” Anderson said.

Four years later, it’s hard to tell Anderson was paralyzed and couldn’t talk. Lots of physical therapy helped him. He was attending a stroke support group in Nashville until someone told him about the group at Baptist Health Paducah.

He’s learned a lot there from the experts.

“When we think of stroke we typically think of it being an older person’s disease,” said Baptist Health Paducah Stroke Team Coordinator Mary Legge, a registered nurse.

It’s the connection to the people in the group Anderson values most.

“Being around people that has experienced the same thing that you have, that goes through the same experiences, allows you to come in and maybe share some things you’ve gone through, some things that might bother you, things you have questions about,” Anderson said.

Take the Baptist Health Paducah Stroke Assessment Test to find out your stroke risk by clicking here.

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