Word by Word back to life

A stroke threatened to destroy her life - her speech, her thinking.
But Karen Smetacek did not give up.

By Michael Weisfeld

Photos by Andreas Lübberstedt

Andalusia, a cool, cloudy day. Karen and Victor Smetacek are on their way back to Germany from vacation. They are driving along a country road north of Cordoba. Traffic in the opposite lane is thick. Suddenly a car veers off the lane and speeds directly into the small white Toyota of the Smetaceks. The collision com-presses the front of the car right upto the windscreen. Karen´s belt rips, her head is smashed into the screen.

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As she returns to consciousness, she sees her husband slumped over the steering wheel.
He is dead, she thinks with horror.Then people suddenly appear around the car wreck. Two men pull her out and lay her carefully on the roadside.

Finally an ambulance arrives and transports her to a nearby first-aid clinic.
Her right leg is hurting fearfully. She is lying on a stretcher when Victor suddenly limps in. Karen is overjoyed. She is then driven to the hospital of the city of Jaen. The doctors cut open her jeans and treat her broken leg. They talk to her all at once. Karen understands them but she does not know what to say.

Finally she is asked for her address and she attempts to reply.
To her consternation she can barely speak, she only manages to give her address, i.e. most of it.

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