After a 3-hour surgery, two carotid dissections and a stent, Michael spent 5 days in the stroke ICU, one week on the ward at the University Hospital and four weeks at the Glenrose Hospital.
Michael has been home now for two months. The girls and I are grateful that his stroke did not affect him physically and his intellect remains intact; however, his speech, literacy and understanding of language have been severely compromised. He is able, for example, to navigate a computer, read his periodicals in his head or cook a family meal but he cannot easily name an object, hold a simple conversation, or call his girls by name. He is slowly re-learning to read aloud, speak and articulate sounds. As a family, we are devastated at this change and we are struggling in every way imaginable to help Michael and to navigate our new reality. It is an understatement to say how tremendously frustrated and sad Michael is in his inability to communicate.
Although Michael is receiving speech language therapy at the Glenrose Hospital, Alberta Health Services places a cap on the maximum number of visits permitted. It has become very clear that the more speech language therapy Michael receives, the more gains we will all see. With limited disability insurance and now no family income, we are unable to offer Michael the care and rehabilitation he desperately needs. Private Speech Language Therapy, unfortunately, is tremendously costly. For each 1 hour session, the cost is $130-$165 per hour. A session is usually 1.5 hours.
If you know Michael, then you know how driven he is. His work ethic to rehab his speech is relentless. He works tirelessly with very slow gains. His determination is heroic. He will never give up.
It is our hope to send Michael to two individual sessions of a one-month intensive aphasia program in Vancouver. There, he will receive 3-4 hours a day of private speech therapy tailored for his aphasia and apraxia. We hope to send him from May 2-28th and then again in the late fall of 2021.
The iTAWC Program (Intensive Treatment for Aphasia in Western Canada, www.itawc.com) in Vancouver is a renowned clinic and has proven rehabilitation results. The program that Michael has been accepted into is very costly. The cost of the each one month program is $11250.00 for the treatment alone, not including expenses for accommodation, travel and living. In addition, it is imperative that we support Michael’s rehabilitation with at least 2-3 sessions a week (approx. $3000 per month) of private Speech Language Therapy before and after his time in Vancouver. The more funds we can raise for Michael’s rehabilitation, the more frequent therapy sessions he will receive for a longer duration.
We fully recognize that in these times there is increasing need and decreasing income due to Covid 19. The girls and I have been blessed to live a wonderful life that Michael’s dedication and hard work gave us. His career, however, has been cut short and we were truly reliant upon the next 10 years or so to build a healthy financial future. We are in the process of making changes to accommodate for Michael’s inability to work. There had been no way to predict this tragedy and we would like to be able to offer Michael the treatment he needs, but our now limited resources prohibit us from doing so. The girls and I, however, are most concerned about Michael’s health and rehab and we would so appreciate your support. Funds received will go directly towards the intensive iTAWC Program, costs associated with his therapy as well as private speech language therapy sessions.
As a doctor, Michael has dedicated his life and career caring for others. He has saved countless lives and will happily do so again if given the opportunity. His compassion for his patients and his love of his practice, knows no bounds. His love of detail, his inquisitive nature and his ability to impart fact (whether you wanted to hear it or not) is deeply missed by all of us. He is a brilliant man with the capacity to do great things. We maintain great faith and hope that Michael will have a successful rehab. The girls and I truly hope that you will support Michael, and our family, in his rehabilitation journey.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Our gratitude is deep and we know that Michael is so appreciative too. We ask that you keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers as he continues on his rehabilitation journey.
Tanis, Eve, Anna and Isabelle.
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