Asked to sign her name at the hospital treating her for stroke in 2000, Rosalyn Wallace could only manage an X.
It has been Rosalyn's family tradition to prepare Thanksgiving dinner the weekend of Thanksgiving, so they could have their own leftovers. Rosalyn and her daughter settled in to watch “Jingle All the Way,” and Rosalyn dozed a little. When she woke up, she didn’t feel right, and her family urged her to get some rest.
At the time, Rosalyn was the principal of the Albany School of the Humanities, and thought that work and family life accounted for the fatigue and some of the headaches she’d been having. Although she thought something wasn’t quite right on that Saturday after Thanksgiving, she put out her clothes for church the next day and took her family’s advice, and slept. But when she woke up, she was having trouble speaking, and everything around her sounded like she’d pressed the mute button.
Mrs. Wallace didn’t go back to work till the following July.
“I became the student. I had to re-learn the times tables. I could think things, but couldn’t get them from my brain to my tongue,” she said.
Rosalyn finished her career as an educator, and will continue her volunteer work as the Stroke Ambassador to the 2017 Capital Region Heart Walk.
“I want to emphasize the importance of knowing your family history,” Rosalyn, whose grandmother had had a stroke in her late 50s, said. “I had quality care, and I’m concerned about those who don’t.”