Regaining Independence: Barbara’s Story

Guest author: Vanessa M. Masciantonio, Case Management intern

Today, we meet Barbara Turner. Barbara is a stroke survivor and someone who is very determined to live life to the fullest.  Through her perseverance, hard work, and dedication, Barbara gives true meaning to Magee’s motto “Believe in a way back.” She is an inspiration to me and so many others, and I am proud to share her story with you.

Vanessa Masciantonio: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Barbara Turner: My name is Barbara Turner, and I live here in Philadelphia with my granddaughter, Danielle. I’m originally from Williston, Florida. I came to this wonderful city back in 1979. At the time I had two small children, my son and daughter, who were only four and five years old. We lived with my uncle back then, until he passed away. I first started working at Parktowne Place when I came here in the 1970’s and eventually began working at Kinder Care as an aide. I was promoted to Comprehensive Daycare Aide and enjoyed that job until my retirement. In my free time, I like to keep myself busy; I enjoy reading and coloring in those intricate coloring books for grownups.

VM: What brought you into Magee?

BT: I came to Magee after being hospitalized for a stroke back in early October. I had fallen down in my home twice which is unusual for me. My speech was slurred, and I had weakness on my left side. So I was taken to the emergency department at Methodist Hospital, where they determined that I had indeed had a stroke. After being stabilized and treated for the stroke, I came to Magee Rehabilitation Hospital with the hope of regaining some of my mobility. I was using a wheelchair to get around, and I really wanted to learn to be more independent. I was always a good conversationalist, so I wanted to improve my speech as well.

VM: What difficulties did you have following your stroke?

BT: I was extremely weak on my left side and was considered a high fall risk, so I am currently using my wheelchair to get around. My speech was slurred and difficult to understand.

VM: What are some things that have helped you during your recovery?

BT: During my stay here at Magee Rehab, I met so many wonderful people who were so excellent at their jobs. Everyone I met was so very helpful to me, even if it was just with a smile. I had a team of therapists, a doctor, a Case Manager, and her lovely intern, who individually and collectively helped me to regain my speech and strength.  The Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapy that I received helped me to gain some of my independence back. We all worked hard together every day, and the results are worth every minute of it. With the great strides in progress that I made during the last month, I’m going home soon.

VM: What advice would you give to someone recently diagnosed with complications from a stroke?

BT: My advice to anyone with a similar diagnosis would be to take advantage of this wonderful rehabilitation program. Magee has helped me gain a lot of my independence back, which was always so important to me. I feel as though, after being given the tools and knowledge that I have been given here, I can return home and remain safe and well there.

VM: Where do you see yourself six months from now?

BT: Well, I still need to work at focusing on my left side, but I hope to be getting out of my wheelchair and being able to walk on my own, with hopefully only a cane for assistance. I will be enjoying my retirement and spending time with my grandchildren.

Ms. Barbara did not want her picture taken, but she is beautiful inside and out!

To learn more about the Stroke Program at Magee, click here

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