Nurse Who Suffered Stroke Ponders Future In the Field
Gloria Matthias will never forget the day her life changed forever. It was the middle of the night, around 3 o’clock, when she woke up feeling very strange.
“I still can’t describe the feeling,” said Matthias, a native of British Guyana who was working as a registered nurse at the time she became ill.
Matthias phoned a friend, but in the middle of the conversation, Matthias “fell down and was out like a light.”
The friend immediately phoned 911. The diagnosis: Matthias had suffered a stroke.
“God really worked a miracle and brought me back,” she said. “I could have been dead.”
That was about a year and a half ago. Today, Matthias has completed her rehabilitation at the New Community Extended Care Center under the direction of Kessler, where she made steady progress. Recently, she moved out of the Extended Care Center into her own apartment in Orange, where she receives home visits from nurses with VNA Health Group.
“I didn’t even know about this place,” said Matthias of Extended Care. “They took me in and were very good to me.”
With the left side of her body affected by the stroke, Matthias underwent daily physical and occupational therapy with the Kessler therapists. Although she can take just a few steps wearing a leg brace, Matthias can use her hands to perform tasks like grooming, which she was unable to do before.
Word retrieval can still be challenging, but Matthias refuses to let it defeat her.
“When I read, certain things come back to me. I have come a long, long way,” said Matthias, who has three grown children, all of whom live in Canada.
Matthias is now exploring how she may still be able to use her nursing skills in the future. While at Extended Care, Administrator Betty Lawson helped Matthias navigate the process for license renewal and she took the test and passed.
“I think she’s determined and I believe that she could re-enter the world of nursing but in a different arena than what she was originally working in,” Lawson said.