A Tale of A Stroke: Two People’s Love, Courage and Community– from Millionaire to Medicaid

Nearly 15  years ago I met and have gotten to know another health care journalist–Mary Koch. We have kept in contact over these many years and I had the honor of meeting her and her husband, who has since died after living for 15 years with a “locked-in” stroke.

He was totally dependent on others. He could not move, eat or speak.  His stroke, however, did not impact his intelligence or awareness. He had been a prominent journalist and newspaper publisher in Washington State. He was still totally aware and mentally alert yet “locked-in” physically.

They spent 15 miraculous years together in their home after his stroke. They created their own  ‘language.’ Their courage meant he could stay in their home with people he loved and who loved him. And with the love and support of their community.  Here is her blog about their experience. This blog struck my  health care reform soul. Mary’s story is one person’s personal story as only one who has lived it can tell.


Too many others have neither the human nor financial resources nor community support to survive. Health care reform ultimately is about all of us who are one step away from disaster. I know from my sudden stroke nearly 4 years ago.   So count your blessings and cherish what you now have

Mary now writes an elegant blog with keen reflections on our world and aging as only a gifted and seasoned soul can write.  Her latest is well worth reading  about our physical and moral climates:


For more of Mary’s blogs, see:  www.marykoch.com/2017/07/10/the-paradox-of-age

Her blogs restore the soul. And besides, she is one hell of a writer!!  and a dear friend.

(c) Kathleen O’Connor August 27, 2015


About Kathleen

Kathleen O’Connor: 30+ year health care consumer advocate, non-profit executive and author. For more information about Kathleen, please see "About" on the main content bar above.
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