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Pastor finds his voice again after a stroke

It started as a typical Sunday morning for pastor Frank Boone. He was delivering the 8:45 a.m. sermon at his church when his wife and congregation members noticed something was not right.  His wife Helena saw him pausing as he spoke and frequently consulting his notes, which was not something he did on a regular basis. “He’s usually very talkative and very ‘with it,’” she says. “He was not ‘with it.’”

When church members came up to Helena after the sermon to ask if her husband was okay, she became increasingly concerned. She searched online for “stroke,” and noticed some of the symptoms listed matched Boone’s symptoms.

Signs of stroke include:

  • Sudden difficulty speaking
  • Numbness, weakness, tingling or loss of movement in your face, leg or arm, particularly on one side of your body
  • Sudden onset of severe headache
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Changes in vision
  • Sudden confusion

“I said, ‘You are going to the hospital today – get dressed,’” she says.

Boone’s diagnosis and treatment

“I really didn’t think there was a problem,” says Boone. “I was surprised when they diagnosed me with a stroke.” A stroke must be treated within 4.5 hours for clot-busting medication to be effective. Because he waited several days to go to the hospital, Boone’s medical team said it was too late to treat him for the stroke and kept him in the hospital for only one day.

“That was all they could do, but they offered me therapy,” he says. “We embraced it aggressively.” Boone met with Piedmont Fayette Hospital speech pathologist Hayley Crawford for speech rehabilitation sessions. “I lived for speech therapy,” he says.

Boone says he could think of answers during therapy sessions, but could not say them out loud. “I couldn’t put sentences together – it just didn’t work,” he explains.

Boone says it was Crawford’s idea to immediately and intensively treat his speech problems. They met three days a week for one month to meet his goal of returning to the pulpit. He made a full recovery and was able to resume his normal activities. “With Hayley’s help, we came out the other side,” says Boone.

For more information about speech therapy, visit Piedmont Rehabilitation.

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