On January 15, 2012, Aimeeleigh, a vibrant 32 year old,  suffered a massive brainstem stroke. Due to the severity and location of the stroke, she instantly became paralyzed. She could not breathe, move, or speak; she could only communicate with the outside world by blinking to her family and caregivers: one blink for "yes", two for "no", and three for "I love you". Aimeeleigh thought her life was dissolving before her eyes and literally became the star of her own horror movie.

As a quadriplegic on life-support, Aimeeleigh had to struggle on a daily basis to affirm her will to continue living despite bleak odds. For weeks, she continued to be aware of her surroundings, could feel everything, but was without movement and had only a limited  ability to communicate. She was a prisoner in her failing body.

Over the next several months,  Aimeeleigh fought to reclaim her life and in doing so experienced care at  three different types of medical facilities. She was intially a resident of an intensive care unit, followed by a nursing home, and then a rehabilitation facility.

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Aimeeleigh's healing process has given her a very unique "education" about healthcare and organizational communication from the Patient's perspective. She was fortunate to experience outstanding care much of the time she was hospitalized, but frequently, she only received average or even poor care.  She realized that exceptional patient care can come from a "mediocre" facility, and poor care can come from a very reputable organization; the caregiver is what makes all the difference. The right caregiver can motivate a person to fight and heal.

Aimeeleigh feels that her life was miraculously spared, and is incredibly grateful for her second chance. She wants to motivate patients to fight for their health and happiness, and to motivate professionals to strive to do their very best work, no matter what their field.

 

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