Irene N.

Irene N.

It is nearly impossible to believe that Irene is 90 years old. Her amazing wit and recollection of recent and distant memories of her life is remarkable.

Just two months ago, Irene suffered a stroke. When the stroke happened, Irene remained calm and started to take notice of the things that didn’t feel normal. “I felt weak and could hardly move my left side,” she recalled. Surprisingly, Irene recognized that her signs and symptoms may be a stroke. She yelled for her son “Hey Roger, I’m going to need you to call 9-1-1. I’m having a stroke”.

“My mouth felt weird,” Irene recalled. “I knew I was having a stroke. My mother and my grandmother had a stroke and I remembered all of the signs.”

Although Irene’s stroke was quite serious, she maintained a sense of humor. “You know, some people inherit beautiful hair or something nice from their family. But oh no, not me. I had to inherit my families tendency for having a stroke,” she laughed.

Through humor, support, and a “can do” attitude, Irene transitioned from the local hospital to begin her recovery. Irene stated, ”When they told me that I would need to go to rehab, I requested San Joaquin Valley Rehabilitation Hospital because they have a very good reputation for getting people better.”

Irene was impressed from the moment she arrived at SJVRH. “When I met the therapy team, I knew right away I was going to work hard. They motivated me.”

With the encouragement of her therapists, Irene began each day with the motivation to improve. “I started to believe in the goals that my physical therapist, Jennifer, had set for me,” Irene shared. "[And] if it wasn’t for my speech therapists, Kelly and Hannah, and the rest of the staff, I’m not sure that I would have believed that I can actually do it.”

“There are so many people that I’ve met in the inpatient hospital, like Sherry, Gracie, Rosario, and Briana, who all looked after me in the most sincere and caring way.”

Irene discharged from inpatient therapy and continues her rehabilitation through SJVRH's outpatient department. Irene's goals have changed, but her motivation hasn't.

“I can’t believe that it’s only been two months and I’m back at living my life as I did before my stroke,” she said. “I’ve never worked so hard in my life," she continued with a smile, "but the results have been so great. My family and friends can’t believe I’m back at it! Playing poker, Trivial Pursuit, taking care of my foster cats, and yes, even making a few batches of strawberry jam.”