Americana singer Lucinda Williams has revealed that she suffered a stroke at her home in November 2020, sharing her story with Rolling Stone earlier this week. Williams, 68, shared that she was in the bathroom of her home on Nov. 17 when she began to have trouble keeping her balance, stumbling and finding herself unable to stand up straight or walk. She alerted her husband, Tom Overby, who was on the phone with their primary care physician at the time, and after Overby relayed his wife's symptoms, the doctor told them to get Williams to a hospital right away.
Williams was having a stroke, and she spent a week in the intensive care unit at Nashville’s Vanderbilt Medical Center, where doctors found a blood clot on the right side of her brain, which affected the left side of her body. She was later transferred to a rehabilitation center at Vanderbilt to begin a monthlong treatment of therapy and was able to return home five weeks after her stroke. She is now working with therapists to recover and is currently unable to play the guitar, walks with a cane and has lingering pain in her left arm and leg.
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"What happens is your brain gets all… the wires get all crossed and you have to retrain your brain basically, to tell your arm to do whatever it is you’re trying to do," she said. "So that’s the biggest challenge." Her husband shared that her prognosis is 100 percent recovery, as doctors saw no signs of brain damage. She also did not suffer from speech aphasia.
"I do, like, walking, with the cane and they watch me and see how well I’m doing," Williams said of her recovery regimen. "And then I have to do hand and arm exercises. It’s really about regaining my strength and mobility, and range of motion. That’s what they work with me on." The singer and her husband only began to tell friends and peers about the stroke when Williams began to recover, and she explained that she didn't want to share her situation in a post on social media.
"I thought about going to Facebook, but I didn’t want to make it a big, alarming thing," she said. "Because you know how Facebook is — everybody’s like, 'We’re praying for you and everything,' you know? I didn’t want people to overreact,” she says. “I kind of felt like going off the grid a little bit."
Prior to her stroke, Williams was performing for fans in the livestream series Lu’s Jukebox, and she released an album in 2020, Good Souls Better Angels, which earned her two Grammy nominations. She is currently planning to return to performing this summer.
"I feel good and positive about playing again," she said. "We’ve got some shows scheduled with Jason Isbell for late July and we’re planning on doing those. I don’t know if I’ll stand up and sing or I’ll sit down like an old blues person. But we’ll figure it out." Williams added, "The main thing is I can still sing. I’m singing my a— off, so that hasn’t been affected. Can’t keep me down for too long."