Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Survivor Survivor Story: Cleo Hutton

In 1992, at the age of 43, Cleo Hutton suffered a stroke that left her physically unable to walk or speak, without the full use of her left arm. Mentally, she had difficulty understanding some writing and speech and to this day has difficulty with numbers.

After slowly regaining the ability to walk and speak, she decided to pursue a degree in English, which she earned in 1999. Today, she is a speaker and the author of 2 books "Striking Back At Stoke: A Doctor Patient Journal," co-authored with Harvard University's Dr. Louis Caplan and "After A Stroke: 300 Tips For Making Life Easier" published in June of this year.

The book includes practical tips that aid recovery -- like using putty and strength bands to improve hand and arm strength. Practical instructions for coping with physical impairments such as this tip on how to mail a letter bring home the difficulty in relearning and learning to do differently everyday tasks:
"To mail a letter in a mailbox, put the letter on top of the mailbox, or if the weather is bad, hold the letter between you pursed lips or under your unaffected arm while you open the mailbox. Place you unaffected elbow on the lid to hold it down, and use your unaffected hand to grab the letter and drop it inside the box. Move your unaffected elbow out of the lid by moving your arm down to catch the lid with your hand and fingers. Use your fingers to let go of the mailbox lid. Another way is to quickly pull your elbow up out of the way of the lid."
Cleo Hutton's story is featured in today's Dultuh News Tribune.

"After A Stroke: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier" can be purchased from Amazon.com.

An excerpt from the book can be downloaded from Demos Medical Publishing.

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