Dakota Center for Independent Living

A Story of Triumph

In the summer of 2012, Ardith Williams suffered a stroke that turned her world upside down. It was just another day in the Williams’ residence when Ardith approached her husband, Clifford. She told him that she couldn’t see, she was blind, and she was in pain. Then, all of a sudden, Ardith wasn’t making sense when she spoke. It sounded like a different language when she talked to Cliff. Clifford knew right then it was time to rush her to the E.R.

In the aftermath, Ardith was left with limited mobility, weakness, and cognitive conditions. She was in the hospital for a couple of months and was recuperated enough to leave. However, she still needed more rehab and stabilization. So she went to Dakota Alpha.

Ardith was admitted to Dakota Alpha on her birthday, July 2nd. She was using a wheelchair when she first arrived; but, the most significant limitation was something called global aphasia. People with this disability cannot speak to or understand their environment and what is going on within it.

While at Dakota Alpha, Ardith participated in physical and occupational therapy, as well as speech therapy. Little by little, Ardith began to conquer her confines. Physical therapy got her out of a wheelchair and walking with a walker again. With speech therapy, Ardith went from interpreting nothing, to reading small words, to small paragraphs. Ardith began to understand and communicate language again. See, it would have been easy for Ardith to give up hope, but she didn’t. She worked closely with her therapists and gave it her all in hopes that she would get better. And she did; Ardith certainly has come so far from the stroke that could have ruined her life. With all of the progress that Ardith made at Dakota Alpha, they found that she no longer needed skilled nursing care. Ardith was going home.

Ardith transitioned back to her home in Mandan using the Money Follows the Person Grant on March 4th, 2013. Ardith received a ramp, a new shower, and a signature stamper. She was also connected with out-patient speech therapy so she can continue to keep making progress in communication. Her husband, Clifford, reports that he continues to see Ardith’s progress. When she first got home, she couldn’t recognize what a key does or what to do after she gets in the house. Now, he gives her the keys and points out which key will unlock the door. Then, she unlocks the door, goes inside, gets her shoes off, and relaxes without getting mixed up. Even after all of the improvement that Ardith has made, she keeps making progress.

Although Ardith has worked exceptionally hard to keep improving, she also had a loving hand to hold during these trying times. Something must be said about the support that Clifford gave Ardith throughout the last ten months. Getting Ardith to the hospital before it was too late was the first thing Clifford did. He was in the hospital with Ardith almost all of the time. Once Ardith was at Dakota Alpha, he came to see her practically every day for dinner. When it was nearly time for Ardith to come home, he couldn’t wait; to him, Ardith couldn’t come home soon enough. Clifford stayed by Ardith’s side, guided her when she was confused or frustrated, helped her make important decisions in her own best interests, and he offered encouragement through this whole process. Clifford and Ardith’s love for each other and refusal to give up helped both of them, especially Ardith, pull through.