Fayetteville, Ga. (May 20, 2013) – Douglasville resident Frank Boone never worried about losing his voice. An outgoing and highly communicative individual, Boone had been preaching to congregations for years when in December 2012, he found himself unable to speak halfway through a sermon.
“I knew something was wrong when his words came out in bits and pieces during the sermon,” said Helen Boone, Frank’s wife of 41 years. “I told him we needed to go to the hospital, but he refused - he insisted he was fine.”
During his mid-morning service, the same thing happened. Helen suggested his symptoms were that of a stroke but Frank wasn’t convinced. Tests at Piedmont Fayette Hospital came back fine when he went to the ER days later but an MRI showed there was damage to the part of his brain which controlled his speech. Boone had indeed suffered a stroke and now needed aggressive speech rehabilitation.
Stroke symptoms can often be unrecognizable and include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance; and sudden severe headache with no known cause.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke. It is the fourth leading cause of death in America and affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Serious life-changing complications resulting from stroke include problems understanding or forming speech; difficulty controlling or expressing emotions; paralysis or weakness on one side of the body; and problems with thinking, awareness, memory and judgment.
“I was worried I wouldn’t be able to preach again,” said Boone. “After I was admitted to the hospital, I was put in the care of speech pathologist Hayley Crawford, my angel on earth. Hayley went above and beyond her call of duty to ensure he would return to the pulpit.”
Crawford, a speech pathologist at Piedmont Fayette, diagnosed Boone with Asphasia – a partial or total loss of the ability to articulate ideas or comprehend spoken or written language resulting from damage to the brain. Crawford worked aggressively with Boone to rehabilitate his speech for three days a week during the course of one month. Her goal was to make sure he made a full recovery and would be able to resume his duties as a minister.
As a result, Boone only missed one Sunday sermon after his stroke and upon his return to the pulpit, he looked into the crowd and was amazed to see Crawford and her family watching him preach. Today, Boone is healthy and has resumed normal activities, but with some lifestyle changes including adding exercise, eliminating red meat and playing “brain games” to exercise his memory and attention.