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Caregiver Rick Griffith Tries to Meet Deadline While Miss Leyva Gives Him More to Do

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Published on May 27, 2011

Caregiver Rick Griffith attempts to work from home. At the moment he's tryhing to finish an article for The Stroke Network.org. http://CaringForMissLeyva.com is an online community of support for a Stroke Surviving School Teacher with a dream: to be free of communism and to become a United States citizen. She nearly died escaping communism, became a U.S. citizen and highly respected school teacher, only to be struck down by a major stroke in the prime of her life. Her students called her Miss Leyva. Isabel Christina Leyva-Griffith was born on September 13, 1962 in Holguin, Holguin, Cuba.
This Video WebLog (Vlog) is as much about you, the caregiver, the stroke or brain injury survivor, as it is about its originators: Richard and Isabel Leyva-Griffith. Our journey into this chapter of our lives started with Isabel's major stroke on September 1, 2007, at age 44. It was Saturday morning--cleaning day. Isabel had put to rest the first week of school at Oceanside High where she taught Spanish.
Being a perfectionist, she had pushed herself very hard all week, skipping breaks, no lunch, lots of strong black coffee. She came home Friday afternoon with a migraine headache. During that last meaningful conversation Friday afternoon with husband Richard, Isabel talked about the workload and stress of teaching. Not so much the demands of teaching itself which she dearly loved; it's the stress of dealing with too many students and too many directives from administration; also, the ever present fear of losing the job she fought so hard to get.
She's a very intelligent and well-educated woman, having earned both a B.A. in English Literature as well as a B.A. in Russian Literature at the University of Havana, Cuba. Her stroke happened at home following the first week of school at Oceanside High School where she had taught Spanish since 1999.
Husband Richard is the sole caregiver. Since Isabel's stroke left her unable to speak, write, or read, communication is very difficult. We are a family with a mom and a dad, four lovable little doggies (three are adopted), two adopted kitties (now one: Squeaky passed), two birds, and a pond full of goldfish.
Isabel is a survivor, having spent five days and nights in a two-man life raft with four other adults as the five braved rough seas and ever-present sharks in their quest for a better life here in the United States. They had escaped Fidel Castro's Communist Cuba at last. The Coast Guard picked them up half way between Florida and Cuba (circa 1990); Isabel was granted political asylum and began a new life in Las Vegas wher she taught Russian at a local high school.
Richard and Isabel celebrated their second wedding anniversary while Isabel was in the hospital following her stroke.
Formerly an NBC affiliate News Anchor/Reporter, Richard is a freelance writer/reporter/cameraman.

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