Five Years and Counting with a Lingraphica TouchTalk
Karen Hilchey, a former administrative assistant, had her first of three strokes in 2018 at 48 years old. But this wasn’t her first serious medical incident. Years earlier, when Karen was just 32, she underwent treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which included radiation therapy. While the radiation helped with her cancer, it left Karen with a damaged carotid artery. These major arteries supply blood to the brain, neck, and face, and the damage meant Karen’s risk of stroke increased.
And more than 15 year later, Karen had her first stroke. But no stranger to adversity, Karen made a full recovery. Unfortunately, approximately 23% of Americans who have one stroke will go on to have a second.
It was after Karen’s third stoke, which came in 2016, that she developed aphasia. Karen exhibited many of the symptoms. She struggled to talk. She couldn’t read. She couldn’t write. Many, but not all parts of her language were gone.
Karen’s Device Gives Her Independence That She Did Not Have Before
“She knew the words she wanted to say, but she couldn’t get them to come out,” recalled Karen’s sister, Joyce. “Karen would repeat words over and over again that didn’t mean anything. And she didn’t understand numbers at all. Now, after five strokes, she can’t read or write. And it took her four or five years to remember her PIN number for her debit card.”
Joyce and Karen found Lingraphica five years ago. After a brief trial, Karen was prescribed with a her own permanent TouchTalk AAC device. For the last five years, Karen has used her device to communicate once again.
“My device gives me independence that I did not have before,” Karen tells us. “With this device, I am now able to communicate.”
With her device, she’s able to communicate important information about her medication at doctor appointments. And at home, she can use her device to say which of her favorite TV shows she’d like to watch next. When she’s out at a restaurant, Karen uses her TouchTalk to express what she would like to eat.
At Lingraphica, we’re always working to improve device software and hardware, and Karen is in the process of upgrading to a new device. She says that she’s excited to connect to Facebook and see what else is new.