Former WTMJ-TV anchor and reporter Vivian King joined WTMJ’s Gene Mueller to discuss her career and her health, after suffering a stroke in 2013. King is the author of the book, “When the Words Suddenly Stopped: Finding My Voice Again After a Massive Stroke.”
Transcription provided by eCourt Reporters, Inc.
GENE MUELLER: The thought of someone who does what we do, what you did on TV and what you’re doing now being in media and communications, the thought of not being able to talk is about the worst thing that could happen to us.
VIVIAN KING: Exactly, but I did not think like that, so I was not myself that everybody knows. I was in the hospital — and I’m very faithful, and so I — God did not allow me to even think about what would happen beyond. I think there was a lot going on, I was super busy. I had just changed careers, jobs, again. Because I had — on July 1st of that year, I started my job at Aurora Healthcare, I had just left Roundy’s Supermarket, and so I was transitioning into being VP of community relations. I had never really traditionally, you know, worked — technically worked in community relations the way it’s defined, but, you know, I had always been in the community. And — but I had to learn this new job and I also had to learn healthcare, because I had never really been sick. So, I didn’t know the inner workings of health care, so I was transitioning from the old, transitioning into the new. It was exciting, but — but I’m sure it was stressful, and without my even realizing how stressful it was. And I had to develop a new plan and build up a new department, and so it was all new — exciting, but new. And I think that, you know, this — first of all, I believe God spared me by making me — something in me saying, “No, I have to get up and go.” Because if I had stayed at home, it was a Friday, my friends and family know that I travel all the time. It’s nothing for me to hop a plane and go someplace for the weekend. And so, people would not have even thought about me until I didn’t show up for work on Monday. So that’s number one. If I had not gotten up to go, I would have been in this — my condo, and I would have either been dead or severely handicapped. Because when — when you’re talking about a stroke, time is brain, and that would have been all weekend that I would have been in my condo. And because of how serious my clot was and stroke was, I really believe I would had been dead —
GENE MUELLER: And again —
VIVIAN KING: — if I had not gotten up.
GENE MUELLER: When you say, “time is brain,” every moment that something isn’t being done to help someone having a stroke is loss of brain capacity or brain function, right?
VIVIAN KING: Absolutely. Absolutely. And so that — I would have been here, and somebody would have said, “Hey, break in because she hasn’t shown up for work on Monday,” which would have been unusual. And somebody would have probably found me by then, and it would have been too late. So that’s number one.
Number two, when I was in the hospital, I really was not thinking. I think God said, “You need to just sit down and rest,” kind of like he’s done for all of us in this pandemic. I mean, you know, I just believe this is a time — we’re in a season where we’re supposed to really focus on what’s important in our lives, focus on our family. We’re — we’re bound to our homes for the most part, especially in the beginning, and now probably even more because the cases of coronavirus are rising, but we’ve been in our homes, parents have had to home school or, you know, at least be there and make sure their kids are doing their homework. We’re just — we’re just thrown together, and we have to kind of deal with it. And so I feel like when I was recovering from my stroke, it was a time for me to really be still and restore my body and restore my brain. And so at that time, I just don’t think that God allowed me to really realize that not talking was an issue, because I didn’t really know it was an issue until I started my inpatient therapy, and my speech therapist would say, you know, “What’s your name,” or, you know, “Write your name. Write your address.” And I remember writing my name. And then when I wrote my address, I wrote two numbers, and it’s like I could not remember what the rest was. And something in my head said, “You should know this,” and I probably had that look on my face, and then the therapist, who was so kind — all of my therapists were kind — basically said, “That’s okay, we’ll move on to something else.” And they just kept, you know, moving me on to something else. And so, it was strange because I didn’t really realize I didn’t know that I used to be a broadcaster and that talking and speaking was the thing that I used to always do.