Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Betty Wolf Stroke Gives Life New Meaning, Mission

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Betty Wolf Stroke Gives Life New Meaning, Mission

Article excerpt

Five years ago, Betty Wolf suffered a brain aneurysm. After collapsing on the dining room floor of her St. Charles County home, Wolf's next memory was three weeks later in the SSM Rehabilitation Department of St. Joseph Health Center in St. Charles. She had no control of her arms and legs and couldn't hold her head upright.

In the meantime, doctors had told Betty's husband, Norman Wolf, to prepare for the worst. Only 25 percent of those who suffer aneurysms make it as far as the hospital, he was told. Betty was given only a 10 percent chance of survival.

Betty Wolf's first recollection was being asked a question by the doctor in charge of the rehab department. He asked her how she wanted to leave the hospital. Wolf, whose speech was not impaired, told him she wanted to go home in the same physical condition she was before she became ill. "He told me that was possible if I worked hard and was diligent about my therapy," she said. Wolf walked out of the hospital four weeks later on her own - ever -grateful for her recovery and determined to do whatever she could to help other stroke survivors. Today Wolf, 70, leads a normal life. She visits her granddaughter in Toledo, Ohio, and recently made a trip to Las Vegas. She walks every day and hardly notices the shunt that neurosurgeons put in her head to drain fluid from her brain. She and her husband attend meetings of the Stroke Support Club on the first Wednesday of the month at St. Joseph's Health Center, where they listen to speakers and share frustrations common to stroke survivors. Wolf also spends every Wednesday afternoon at the Sisters of St. Mary's rehab ward, encouraging stroke survivors to keep fighting and to share their doubts and fears. Depression is the toughest obstacle, she says. "No one can possibly understand how tiring it is to plod your way through therapy unless you've been there," she said. …

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