Claudia Fortunato-Napolitano is the Happiness Hero at John’s Crazy Socks. While still a young woman (Claudia is only 35), she suffered a major stroke in January 2017. Claudia is an essential team member at John’s Crazy socks working to spread happiness and show every day what is possible when you give a person a chance. Claudia is sharing her recovery in this blog, so others can learn of the challenges facing stroke recovery patients and people in recovery can take strength and inspiration from knowing they are not alone.
I have aphasia and it sucks (a disorder that impairs a person's ability to process language). On Thursday night, I got into a fender-bender with my car. I backed up into a US Postal Service truck. Thankfully, there was no damage to their truck, and my car had very little damage. But I still got upset and frazzled, and I had to call my husband to come and calm me down. And why was I so upset? Because if I had at talk to a police officer, my aphasia would shine through. I was crying but not because of the accident. Because I was nervous that I will have to talk to a police officer. That’s all it takes. Being nervous makes everything harder. I talked to a police officer and it was hard. Aphasia really makes the simplest jobs feel the hardest. (I was not planning on telling my parents or anybody about the accident, but I want to be completely honest in my blog. Oh well, at least they will only see this after my car gets fixed! 😊)
So, aphasia sucks. But I am trying to get around it. I went to speech therapy class twice this week, and I worked hard. I noticed an improvement in my writing. I do not make as many corrections as I use to (At least, I don’t think so? Kim, my editor, may think differently). It takes me less time than it did 2 months ago. It also takes less time for me to think of the answer to a question, or if I am writing a paragraph it takes less time to draft. I think that’s a reason to celebrate! I think that we will have a party this weekend, even if it’s only me.
I am so excited to go up to Providence for my sister Stephanie’s birthday. She lives in Pawtucket and works for the City of Providence. Right after work on Friday, I am going to take the Orient Point ferry. I am going alone, no Sean and no London. Just me. I love that. It will be a smooth ride. I will turn up my podcasts, and I won’t be thinking about my stroke, or my hands, or speech therapy. I will just enjoy the ride.
Gwen, my niece, and I will bring my sister out for her birthday. Of course, I brought her a present: The Art Lovers Box from John’s Crazy Socks. And we are going to a Breast Cancer event when I am up there. I think it is a dance party at WaterFire. It will be a good time!
I think the most important thing is I must remember, every day, every week, I take more steps. It is hard, but I keep getting better.
To read Claudia's last blog, click here.