Recreation Therapy Month: Valerie’s Story

On Nov. 29, 2017, Valerie Lawson was notarizing some work for a neighbor when someone sideswiped her vehicle and drove off. On her way back from the mechanic, she noticed that her left foot had started to go numb. Then, she became sick to her stomach. After calling her daughter and emergency services, she lost feeling in the entire left side of her body, causing her to fall out of her car and hit her head on the concrete while she waited for help to arrive.

Following her time in acute care, Valerie was transferred to Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, where she has been recovering from her stroke since December.

Cassandra Watts (CW): Tell us a little bit about your experience with Recreation Therapy here at Magee Rehab.

Valerie Lawson (VL): Recreation was great. I got to make Christmas gifts for my family while being here in the hospital, play games to work on my left hand and learn things I didn’t know before: like how to pot a plant! You were also great because you would always come back and check on me even if I was having a bad day.

CW: What goals have you achieved during your time at Magee?

VL: Well, when I got here, I couldn’t move my left arm and leg. Now, I can raise them over my head and kick my leg. I’m also walking with some help, but I’m confident I won’t need that in the future.

CW: What advice would you give to another person recovering from a stroke or another life changing event?

VL: Never give up on your goals. Even when special events happen like Christmas or New Year’s you can feel really defeated, but you can get better, and you will. I had a lovely time here. I thought I wouldn’t, but I did. Everyone was so nice: my physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapists were so great. Even the day room volunteers, behavior techs and CNA’s were nice. They always check on me, and they even call me the mayor of the fourth floor! Overall the staff treated me like family and helped me learn new ways to do things. Never give up!

Want to learn more? Take a look inside the stroke and brain injury programs at Magee.

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