Ep 111 -- Falling in Love with the Process (Part 2)

How do you tell someone’s story in a book without actually writing your story of learning their story? What is qualitative research? We answer those questions and more as I nerd out with Drs. Patricia Geist-Mart and Sarah Parsloe about Communication theory.

In Episode 110, I talked with Bill Torres, the subject of the book, “Falling in Love with the Process.” You can listen to that episode here.

In this episode, I talk with the authors of the book, Dr. Patricia Geist-Martin and Dr. Sarah Parsloe, professors of Communications at San Diego State University and Rollins University respectively.

The result is a wide ranging discussion that let me nerd out a bit about Communication Theory, which is something I haven’t talked a whole lot about since college.

We discuss topics like:

  • What communication is and how it defines relationships
  • The nature of qualitative research
  • The challenges in telling someone else’s story
  • Cyberactivism
  • Ableism and intersectionality
  • Inspiration porn
  • …and much more

And you’ll get to hear more about what it’s like to work with Bill.


Patricia Geist-Martin stands in front of a brick wall and smiles at the camera.

Patricia Geist-Martin (Ph.D. Purdue University) is a Professor Emerita in the School of Communication at San Diego State University. Her research examines the stories people tell in making sense of their lives, particularly in their journeys through health and illness. Falling in Love with the Process: Cultivating Resilience in Health Crises: A Stroke Survivor’s Story (2020), is Dr. Geist-Martin’s fifth book. Website: https://patriciageistmartin.com

Sarah Parsloe stand in front of a pond and looks at the camera 150

Sarah Parsloe (Ph.D. Communication, Ohio University) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Rollins College, Winter Park, FL.  Her research examines the ways in which people make sense of identity threats that arise from experiences of disability and chronic illness, including uncertainty, stigma, and prejudice against people with disabilities (ableism). She is particularly interested in studying the communication processes of (self-)advocacy.


We talked briefly about a couple movies that came to mind while talking with Bill. Here are the trailers.

Lessons Learned

Patricia spoke about the about the amazing resilience she learned from Bill. The fact that we can go through so much and then still go out and do the work of recovery is amazing. And then to go beyond our own recovery to helping others as Bill has done is a powerful thing.

Sarah talked about two lessons she learned from Bill.

The first is the importance of relationships. Bill has friends he’s known for decades and he continued to feed those relationships throughout his life both before and after his stroke. And when he needed them — they were there. Maintaining relationship later in life goes a long way to not only enriching that live but also in feeding health.

Speaking of feeding one’s health, Sarah also learned from watching Bill feed the ducks. He has something he cares about and takes care of every day. After stroke, it’s easy to think we can’t take care of others because we have to be taken care of, but that’s a dangerous path to go down.

Taking care of others can be an important way to drive our own sense of importance (in a good way) even if it’s in a different context. Maybe we can’t take care of others the same way we could before stroke, but maybe there’s a new way of providing moral or emotional support while still getting support and care from others.

Even if that means finding some hungry ducks.

From my perspective, the worst thing that can happen to a person is to have nothing to do. It’s fine in limited doses, but having nothing to — no reason to start the day — can lead to a nasty spiral of depression. It’s why so many people die within a year of retiring from their jobs.

Or maybe you’re just getting a peek at my own anxieties there.

Cyber Activism

We talked a bit about cyber activism and how social media has given disabled people and people with disabilities a way to raise their concerns and say ableism and Eugenics are not ok. It’s a tool that means this community will not be ignored.

Twitter hashtags are some of the places where these stories come out, including:

We talked about Dr. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw who developed the theory of Intersectionality when discussing issues of race, disability, gender and more. You can read more about her work here: https://aapf.org/our-team

Talila A. Lewis is a lawyer and activist focusing on deaf wrongful conviction cases Talila founded the HEARD organization. You can read more about Talila’s work here: https://www.talilalewis.com/about.html

Hack of the Week

Singing is sometimes a way to get words out for folks who struggle with aphasia. Because of the way the brain is wired, singing can get based block in the traditional language centers. If you find yourself fighting to speak the words, try to do a little song.


Falling in Love with the Process https://he.kendallhunt.com/product/falling-love-process-cultivating-resilience-health-crisis-stroke-survivors-story
Falling in Love with the Process on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/fallinginlovewiththeprocess
Falling in Love with the Process on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Falling-Love-Process-Cultivating-Resilience/dp/1524989894/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=falling+in+love+with+the+process&qid=1600308306&sr=8-1
Patricia Geist-Martin, Ph.D. on the web https://www.patriciageistmartin.com/
Patricia Geist-Martin, Ph.D. on SDSU https://communication.sdsu.edu/faculty_and_staff/profile/-patricia-geist-martin
Patricia’s email pgeist@sdsu.edu
Sarah Parsloe, Ph.D  at Rollins University https://www.rollins.edu/communication/faculty-staff-listing/
Sarah Parsloe, Ph.D on research Gate https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/Sarah-Parsloe-2123013686
Sarah’s email sparsloe@rollins.edu
Bill Torres on Strokecast http://Strokecast.com/BillTorres
Patricia and Bill on the Hand In Hand show https://www.handinhandshow.com/2020/07/18/episode-101-enjoy-the-recovery-process-bill-shares-his-journey/?fbclid=IwAR1T8DLyL81bKT0vcA4ax8_UXmIGGV3Cmvmk-3VlJxGMkzreaR3aYKQ5Lrg
Neuro Nerds Podcast http://TheNeuroNerds.com
Joe Borges on Strokecast http://Strokecast.com/NeuroNerds
Pathos, Logos, and Ethos http://2minutetalktips.com/2017/11/07/episode-035-let-the-audience-react-and-ancient-rhetoric-today/
Arrival — Trailer https://youtu.be/tFMo3UJ4B4g
Big Fish — Trailer https://youtu.be/M3YVTgTl-F0
#AbledsAreWeird on Twitter https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AbledsAreWeird&src=typed_query
#CripTheVote on Twitter https://twitter.com/search?q=%23cripthevote&src=typed_query
#NoBodyIsDisposable https://twitter.com/search?q=%23NoBodyIsDisposable&src=typed_query
Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberl%C3%A9_Williams_Crenshaw
TL Lewis website https://www.talilalewis.com/
Heard http://behearddc.org/
Alice Wong on Twitter https://twitter.com/SFdirewolf
Autoethnography on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoethnography#:~:text=Autoethnography%20is%20a%20form%20of,and%20social%20meanings%20and%20understandings.
The Hero’s Journey on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hero%27s_journey

Where do we go from here?

  • Order the book from the publisher or Amazon if you want to hear more about Bill Torres and falling in love with the process.
  • Share this episode with academic, professor, or college student in your life by giving them the link http://Strokecast.com/Process.
  • Follow me on Instagram at Bills_Instagram.
  • Don’t get best…get better.

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Ep 110 -- Falling in Love with the Process (Part 1)

At 85, stroke survivor Bill Torres works out every day, feeds the ducks, and helps other survivors along the way. He has fallen in love with the process of getting better. This week, we hear Bill’s story.

Bill Torres had a stroke at 71. Fourteen years later, he’s recovered and at age 85 spends his days feeding the ducks, hitting the speed bag, working out, and helping stroke survivors around the country navigate their own process of stroke recovery.

This episode is a little different. Bill just started telling stories and sharing his wisdom and who am I to get in the way of that with pre-prepared interview questions. I just wanted to hear more. So this episode highlights the core things that Bill and I talked about.

I hope you find Bill as fascinating as I do.


Bill Torres wears a red t-shirt and looks directly at the camera in this headshot

Bill Torres grew up in San Diego, where he now lives.

His career took him to places as varied as Long Island, NY; Jakarta, Indonesia; and a school in Venezuela. He taught English, sold franchises, brought Arby’s to large parts of the Pacific Northwest, and brought racquetball to the US.

Bill survived a stroke at age 71 and now, at age 85, helps other stroke survivors along on their own journey of recovery.

Bill is the subject of the new book, Falling in Love with the Process, by Dr. Patricia Geist Martin and Sarah Parsloe.

He feeds the ducks every day.

Bill’s story

Hack of the Week

Bill recommends old-school hair curlers as great tools for dealing with hand tone and spasticity. Combined with exercise, they help folks straighten out their finger and keep their hand open. If you’ve got some laying around, give them a try. Or ask Bill. He probably has a few in his car.


Where do we go from here?

  • Check out Bill’s video above or visit http://BillTorres.net to learn more and connect directly with Bill.
  • Look for Episode 111 after September 23 to hear authors Drs. Patricia Geist-Martin and Sarah Parsloe share their story of working with Bill.
  • Fall in love with your own process of recovery
  • Don’t get best…get better

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast


Ep 109 -- Play Games to get that Hand Back with Neofect CEO Scott Kim

It’s been awhile since I checked in with the folks at Neofect so in this episode I chat with CEO and co-founder Scott Kim.

If you follow the technology and gear around rehab, you’ve probably heard of Neofect. They make a product called the Smart Glove. I talked about it with OT Lauren Sheehan a couple years ago at http://Strokecast.com/Lauren. You can listen at that link.

The Smart Glove is a plastic exoskeleton with very sensitive sensors that you wear on your stroke affected arm. Then you play video games with that arm. The sensors detect the slightest motion and translate that motion into in-game activities. It encourages you to do more therapy by making it more engaging. It makes getting those thousands of reps in that much easier.

We talk about that, enhancements to the product, new products, and some of the decisions a CEO has to make


Neofect CEO Scott Kim faces the camera while wearing the Smart Glove on his left hand. It looks like a plastic exoskeleton.

Scott Kim is the co-founder and CEO of Neofect USA, a digital health company that creates customized digital rehabilitation solutions for patients with neurological and musculoskeletal injuries.

Scott met his business partner, Hoyoung Ban, at the Darden Business School at University of Virginia and they quickly connected over personal experiences with the healthcare system and rehabilitation. Scott was born with spina bifida, so after having major surgery on his back as a child, he spent tons of time in rehabilitation. After moving to the U.S. for college, Scott started to notice the gaps in the healthcare system — and that gave him an idea of how he could contribute and make the process more engaging.

Before starting Neofect, Scott worked as a management consultant, a product manager in the software industry and for mobile gaming companies such as GREE, Z2Live (which is now Activision Blizzard) and 505 Games. He founded a couple startups before using all his experience to create Neofect in 2010. Scott now leads a national team from Neofect’s U.S. headquarters in San Francisco.

About Neofect

Neofect’s creates gamified rehabilitation solutions for patients recovering from stroke and other neurological and musculoskeletal conditions. This started with the Neofect Smart Glove and has progressed to include the Neofect Smart BoardNeofect Smart PegboardNeofect Smart KidsNeofect CognitionNeofect Smart Balance, and the NeoMano robotic glove for functional assistance. They also have a new app: Neofect Launches Connect, a Companion App for Stroke Rehabilitation

Traditional rehabilitation exercises are repetitive and monotonous and don’t engage or encourage patients during recovery. This can make patients less likely to stick with programs if they’re not feeling excited or seeing measurable improvements. Each Neofect rehabilitation solution is designed with gamified therapy, using content that’s carefully curated with the help of expert therapists. Every game invigorates the muscles and stimulates visual and auditory senses, reinforcing cognitive functions and accelerating neuroplasticity.

Neofect’s devices are available through physical therapy or occupational therapy, and most can also be used at home. They’re making rehabilitation more fun and engaging, and helping people recover their range of motion.

No Barriers

Scott talked about his work with the No Barriers organization. Here’s how that group describes itself:

The mission of No Barriers is to fully unleash the potential of the human spirit.  Through transformative experiences, tools and inspiration, we help people embark on a quest to contribute their absolute best to the world.  In the process, we foster a community of curious, brave and collaborative explorers who are determined to live the No Barriers Life.

You can learn more about No Barriers here: https://nobarriersusa.org/

Hack of the Week

Remember that you are not alone.

It may seem like it, but there are hundreds of thousands of new stroke survivors in the US every year and millions more around the globe. Yet it can still feel isolating. Mobility challenges make it seem easier to stay home. Communication challenges make it seem easier not to talk. And cognitive difficulties may mean connecting with others burns spoons faster.

But when you do meet up with a group of stroke survivors, you’re among a group that “gets it.” We understand what it’s like to have a brain problem.

So remember there are others out there who can go through this with you. During this time of COVID-19 that may mean we aren’t doing in person meetings, but many groups are meeting online thanks to the power of video conferencing. And there are dozens of Facebook groups you can join.

Follow the #StrokeRecovery hashtag on Instagram to see what other survivors are doing and reach out.

Or just watch and smile (or half smile because, well, you know 🙂 ) and know that you are not alone.


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast