Before I suffered a stroke in October 2013, I was a 37-year-old man living on my boat, where I made the jewelry that paid my bills. Everything changed when I woke up at Cottage Hospital one day and was told by the Harbor Patrol that they had found my boat floating on the water with me in it. It was really scary not knowing what happened. It still is today.
Immediately, I recognized the stroke’s effects. Everything changed. My speech and memory weren’t the same. My coordination was terrible. I couldn’t use my hands like I used to. I used to produce one bracelet every 10 minutes. After the stroke, the same piece took me more than 30 minutes. On top of that, my boat was sold at auction while I was still in the hospital. That made me homeless, so I was placed on a medical bed at Casa Esperanza, which is where I first heard of Jodi House.
I became a member of Jodi House in July 2014. Everyone greeted me right away. It felt like home. I liked talking to other brain injury survivors, and their support helped through that difficult time. I also enjoyed classes like Healthy Cooking because as a diabetic, I need to be particularly conscious of my eating habits. The staff also encouraged me to make exercise part of my daily routine.
After five months, I moved to Florida to live with my grandmother Roberta, who is my only living relative. Jodi House staff prepared her for the move — providing literature on my brain injury and connecting her with resources in Florida — and also helped with my travel arrangements. Since January, my friends at Jodi House continue to make calls to track my progress, and I’m happy to say that everything is going well.
Even my grandma is impressed. “Positivity and a healthy attitude have a lot to do with someone’s recovery,” she said. “David tells me he trusted everyone at Jodi House and still calls them if he is lonely or has a question about something. Jodi House is wonderful place, and I’m thankful David had that help during this challenging time.”
Once my health is stable, we will work on a plan for me to live completely independently and resume working once again. —David Price, as told to Jodi House’s program coordinator Susan Cass
Jodi House hosts the inaugural Hike, Walk, & Roll for Brain Injury at Elings Park on Saturday, June 27. See jodihouse.org.