Episode 077 -- Starbucks and Jelly

Jelly Packets

Last week, the COO of Swedish Cherry Hill Medical Center invited me to speak at the hospital's leadership meeting to share a little bit about my experience as a stroke patient there.

Among the positive things I had to share, I also talked about a couple of the smaller negatives, including the jelly packets at breakfast.

A box of jelly packets spills its contentsThey use those little plastic packets that are common at dinners. You peel back the foil lid and then extract jelly with your knife to spread it on your bread. The problem is it takes two hands to do it. Give it a try with one hand sometime.

That means that I and the other hemiparetic stroke patients in the stroke unit couldn't do it.

And of course it's a small thing, and there are plenty of people available to help. But I feel silly paging someone to come to my room and spread my jelly.

At one level, it struck me as silly that a hospital hadn't thought of this. But there had to be more to it.

Later in the day, I realized why it stuck with me like this. It's because that means everyday started with a failure. And that is not a recipe for success in rehab.

Starbucks Framework for Recovery

Not: Starbucks is not a sponsor, but I'd be happy to change that. Hit me up, Starbucks! Bill@Strokecast.com.

Recovery is often talked about in terms of what an arm or leg can do, or how much vocabulary returns, or other metrics that are tied to what actions the patient can execute with their body. But the body is just a vehicle for our minds. Our legs, arms, voices, senses, memory backs, swallowing mechanism, etc. are all just tools for helping us get our minds from place to place, to connect with other minds, and to provide for the enjoyment of our lives.

One way I measured my recovery was, could I walk to Starbucks? And then could I enjoy my beverage and walk back?

Ted Baxter (http://Strokecast.com/Relentless) talked about how one goal for getting past his aphasia was to be able to order a beverage at Starbucks.

The podcast Aphasia Access Conversations recently talked with Speech Language Pathologist Maria L Muñoz and she described an Aha! Moment with a patient when she realized her approach was all wrong. The patient simply wanted to be able to complete an order at Starbucks.

Thinking about how the patient's condition impacts their Starbucks experience is really about understanding their goals and the actual benefits therapy and recovery can have in their lives.

Of course it doesn't have to be Starbucks. The coffee chain stands in as a great analogy for understanding what recovery means to the survivor.

And check out the Aphasia Access Conversations podcast. It's target audience is speech therapists so it's a bit academic. Ultimately it's about the field of speech therapy rather than survivors or consumers of therapy, but it can help you understand more about the field.

Congratulations to Ted and Kim!

Author and Survivor Ted Baxter appeared on the show last October talking about his journey and his book, Relentless (http://Strokecast.com/Relentless). He was recently profiled in the New York Times talking about his remarkable recovery. You can read that article here.

His former wife Kelly was profiled in part 2 talking about her role as caregiver and the challenges associated with it. You can read that profile here.

Congratulations, Ted and Kelly.

The cover of Dr. Kimberly Brown's book It's an Emergency!ER Physician Dr. Kimberly Brown was on the show last November (http://Strokecast.com/Kim) talking about her road to medicine, how the ER handles stroke patients, and some of the challenges of dealing with stroke in the stroke belt of the United States.

Dr. Brown just released her own book -- It's an Emergency!: Understanding the What, How and Why of Your ER Visit.

You can find it on Amazon here:

Congratulations, Kim! I look forward to reading it.

Hack of the Week

Gianna Rojas (http://Strokecast.com/Golf) talked about the importance of adaptive clothing. Many of us are already familiar with those snazzy looking Velcro shoes familiar to those with hemiparesis, but it goes beyond that. Gianna is partial to skorts from BSkinz, which you can find here.


Aphasia Access


Aphasia Access Episode 031 Show Notes


Maria L Muñoz on Twitter


Bskinz Skorts


Ted Baxter on Strokecast


Ted Baxter in the New York Times


Kelly Renzoni in the New York Times


Ted Baxter’s Website


Ted on Twitter



Ted on Facebook



Ted on Instagram



Relentless on Amazon


Dr. Kimberly Brown on Strokecast


It's an Emergency! On Amazon


Dr. Kimberly Brown’s Website


Dr. Kimberly Brown’s Facebook


Dr. Kimberly Brown’s Instagram


Dr. Kimberly Brown’s Twitter


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast

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