Everyday Health had the opportunity to speak with the country music musician and his wife about the ways in which he is coping with a sickness that has a significant impact on his ability to communicate and the ways in which he finds hope through singing.
In July of 2013, country music artist Randy Travis went to the hospital’s emergency room because he was suffering from a cold. The 54-year-old actor had a role in a TV pilot that was about to be shown, so his schedule was packed with filming and touring commitments. On the other hand, none of it took place. Travis was transferred to Heart Hospital Baylor in Dallas to receive treatment for dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disorder that is caused by an infection of the heart caused by a virus. When someone has DCM, the heart valves enlarge and become less effective at pumping blood because of this.
At one point, his heart completely stopped beating, and doctors hurried to start life support on him and put him into a coma against his will, both of which can assist protect the brain.After Travis had been asleep for forty-eight hours, medical professionals discovered that he had suffered a stroke that had an impact on the entirety of the center of his left brain. The medical staff suspected that he had sustained his injuries as a result of a blood clot that originated in his heart and then traveled to his brain.
During Travis’s second coma, when his lungs had failed and he was on life support, the doctors told his then-fiancée Mary that he only had a 1% chance of living and that she should think about turning off life support. Travis had been in a coma before, but this was the second time.
According to Mary, who tied the knot with Travis in 2015, “I went to his bedside and asked him if he wanted to keep fighting.” I recognized that he was not prepared to give up since he had a tear in his eye.Mary went to the physicians and requested their assistance in keeping her husband alive. They were successful.
Six years after the incident that left him paralyzed, Travis now spends the majority of his time with Mary at the ranch they share. Additionally, he attends a Bible study class once a week in a nearby town. Mary chooses to spend the most of her time with him in order to assist him in communicating due to the difficulty caused by the stroke.
Additionally, Travis is resolved to assist other people in overcoming challenging situations. Together with Mary, he established the Randy Travis Foundation with the intention of assisting persons who have suffered from heart disease or stroke. The memoir that Travis wrote, titled Forever and Ever, Amen:
A Memoir of Music, Faith, and Braving the Storms of Life, is an account of his struggles as well as his aspirations for the foreseeable future.Even when it seemed like things couldn’t get much worse. Travis expressed in his letter his resolve to recover fully and resume the activities that brought him the most joy.
“Throughout my life, I have encountered a great deal of adversity, including situations in which the odds were so stacked against me that other people encouraged me to give up. He stated, “I hadn’t quit back then, and I wasn’t going to stop now.” [T]here was no way I was going to give up.
The Pathway to Rehabilitation:
In addition to the difficulties described above, Randy struggled with vision problems for the first six to nine months after being released from the medical facility. This was in addition to the difficulties discussed above.According to Mary, the person had trouble focusing their attention and had problems with their visual perception at first, but with time, they improved to the point where they had no problems with either ability.
A consideration of time is required in order to comprehend this phenomenon.The recovery of Randy’s ability to communicate verbally has proven to be one of the most difficult obstacles he has had to face. The National Aphasia Association estimates that between 25 and 40 percent of individuals who have suffered a stroke are impacted by a communication handicap known as aphasia.
Mary suggests that aphasia might be conceptualized as a breakdown in the line of communication that exists between the lips and the brain.Randy articulates the challenges he faces as a result of his medical condition in the written work he has produced.Because of the specific circumstances surrounding me, all of my cognitive abilities were functioning normally, which enabled me to understand what Mary was trying to say verbally. Nevertheless, I was incapable of articulating a response that was both cohesive and complete and could be expressed in the form of a phrase.
My capacity for verbal communication was greatly impaired when we first arrived in our new location at home. My participation in speech therapy lasted for a total of three months until I was finally able to successfully articulate the letter ‘A.’
I had to practice saying the words “yes,” “no,” and “bathroom” for around eighteen months before I was finally able to do so. In addition to being able to describe my feelings for other people by saying things like “I love you,” I also have a limited ability to communicate using other phrases. Having said that, my linguistic repertoire does not extend very much beyond the expressions listed above. The event was extremely frustrating, and it gave me the impression that I was being held captive within the boundaries of my own physical existence
Mary describes the procedure as an ongoing repetition in which the components of language are gradually reconstructed with the assistance of a speech therapist.
Randy’s level of determination was admirable, but the process itself was rather difficult, as indicated by her statement.
Learning to Live Once Again:
Travis has liked country music since he was a boy, particularly the songs of more classic country performers such as Hank Williams, Lefty Frizell, and Gene Autry. He began playing guitar at the age of ten. He was in difficulties with drugs, alcohol, and the law as a youth, but his musical skill led him to a better life.
By the age of 26, he had signed with Warner Bros. Records and was quickly piling up No. 1 hits. His debut album sold over four million copies, and he followed it up with a streak of chart-topping records.