Carl McIntyre made the movie “Aphasia” in 2010, five years after a stroke damaged 80 percent of his brain’s left hemisphere, thus severely impairing his processes of communication. McIntyre shared the movie and his presentation, “Hope is a Four Letter Word,” in Carroll Auditorium at Saint Mary’s on Thursday night.Susan Latham, chair of the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at the College, said aphasia is a communicative disorder that inhibits language but not intellect, resulting in the loss of the ability to speak and listen. Despite facing this situation and receiving news that he may never speak again, McIntyre continued to make improvements, Latham said.“Carl starred as himself in a short film, recounting his story to adapt to the incredible changes in his life,” she said. “Now, he tours around the world, presenting the movie and motivating people with his story.”Before his stroke, McIntyre worked as a teacher, actor and salesman. In the movie, McIntyre reenacts a year and a half of therapy and learning following the stroke, indicating how losing the ability to communicate changed both his and his family’s life. A presentation given by McIntyre followed the movie.“Having a stroke sucks,” McIntyre said. “Aphasia really sucks. Before I had a stroke, life is good. … Job is voice — actor, teacher and really good sales. … But after stroke, everything’s different. I can’t speak, and I can’t read or write. Nothing, absolutely nothing.”A year and a half after the stroke, he was no better, McIntyre said. Being trapped in one’s head is a prison where there are disappointments everyday, he said.“I remember saying, ‘Live or die, I don’t care. I’m over life,’” he said. “Bad place, really dark, dark place. But Carl is Carl and most times I’m happy.”McIntyre’s recovery was a multi-step process. The first step was to mourn and realize he was no longer the same as the ‘Old Carl,’ he said. He then wrote the word ‘acceptance’ on a large paper pad — the second step towards recovery.“I’m still here,” he said after writing the word. “I’m still relevant and no fear — fearless. … There is hope, hope is everything. No love, no life. … I love to live again, and I love hope.”Another step in the process is hope, McIntyre said, and the final step is progress. No matter if it’s big or small, progress every day matters, he said.He said he is lucky because he is still able to walk, and even though his right side is weaker and his timing is off, he is still able to toss a baseball with his son.McIntyre said having purpose is also very important. Right now his purpose is the movie, he said.“My brain is always on,” he said. “And faster every year because I’m working every day. … I’m trying.”McIntyre said once insurance ran out and he could not pay for certain therapy programs, he did, and continues to, learn to speak again through free study subject programs at various universities. When learning to speak, associating words with pictures is necessary — such as breaking the word “when” into “w-hen,” while thinking of the bird, he said.The best advice he can pass onto future speech therapists and families is patience, he said.“Lot of patience because today is a good day, tomorrow not too much,” McIntyre said. “But patience can never quit. … I’m lucky because friends help life back … and understand I never be the same. My brain is fine. I can’t speak, but I’m no dummy.”“One person understands me, I’m over the moon,” he said. “I know I never be the same, and every day is hard. But every day is good too. Possibilities, endless possibilities. … Aphasia, still sucks, but I win every day and you can too.”Tags: “Hope is a Four Letter Word”, aphasia, Carl McIntyre, speech therapy, stroke
Story Highlights The JWPC has trained over 800 women in campaign management and candidacy over the years Twenty-one outstanding women honoured for their work in the Jamaica Women’s Political Caucus Twenty-one outstanding women have been honoured for their role in advancing the cause of women, through their work in the Jamaica Women’s Political Caucus (JWPC).The 21, who have made their mark in a wide cross section of fields in the society, were recognized for their yeoman service at the JWPC’s 21st anniversary awards luncheon, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, on Thursday, July 18.Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, in a message read by State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams, congratulated the women, noting that their recognition was a fitting way to celebrate the organisation’s 21st anniversary.“Today, we speak your names with pride into our nation’s history, so that generations to come will bless you as they continue to build on the foundation,” she said.The Prime Minister pointed out that the Jamaica Women’s Political Caucus has upheld the right of Jamaican women to be affiliated with the party of their choice.“Standing on that principle, it has led the way in mobilizing women to work together in a non-partisan model, in order to achieve the developmental goals that must be met if Jamaica is to take its rightful place in the global village,” she said.She noted that over the years the Caucus has never deviated from its vision of providing support for women to participate equally at the highest levels of decision making.Pointing to the JWPC’s objective of raising the number of female parliamentarians to at least 40 per cent of the total members of Parliament, a vision that is reflective in the United Nations and its member agencies, the Prime Minister said she was aware of the many systematic barriers that have prevented the country from reaching that goal.“However, I am also confident that through partnerships with civil groups, such as the Women’s Political Caucus, we can hope for a brighter future in line with the Millennium Development Goals, which include Gender Equality and the Empowerment of women,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.She noted that the work of the Caucus over the years have been tireless and fruitful, pointing out that women venturing out into political careers now have an established and valuable resource for training, advice and other forms of support.In the meantime, President, JWPC, Merline Daley, noted that the organization continues to chip away at “the vast rock of inequality in regards to women’s right to hold positions of decision making in this country,” and will not stop until significant changes are realized.She pointed to the fact that women represent 51 per cent of the population, yet their representational percentage in the Parliament and the Parish Councils bear no relationship to that percentage. She also noted that women far outweigh men in terms of higher education, yet are passed over in favour of men.“This situation must change if Jamaica is to realize her fullest potential,” Ms. Daley said.She reported that the JWPC has trained over 800 women in campaign management and candidacy over the years.Among those honoured were Blossom O’Meally Nelson, Joan Browne, Merlene C. Daley, Beryl Ennis, Maisie Gore, Jeanette Grant Woodham, Maxine Henry Wilson, Gloria Langrin, Essene Lewis, Rev. Dr. Marjorie Lewis, Dorothy Lightbourne, Beverly Manley Duncan, Hermione McKenzie, Gloria Millwood, Violet Neilson, Dr. Beverley Pereira, Dorienne Rowan Campbell, Donna Scott Mottley, Evelyn Smart, Marie Thompson and Faith Webster.