DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Now as 2016 draws to a close, we're revisiting some of the people we met this year. And NPR's Rae Ellen Bichell checks back with a man who survived a stroke in his 40s and also a listener who heard his story.
RAE ELLEN BICHELL, BYLINE: Back in February, I reported a story about strokes increasing in adults under 50. Troy Hodge, a 43-year-old man living in Maryland, shared his story about having a stroke two years earlier.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
TROY HODGE: I remember setting myself on the floor because I was really hot. And I wanted to get some water to splash on my face.
BICHELL: When the story aired on MORNING EDITION, the radio waves carried Hodge's voice into the home of Sue Bryson, a teacher in Virginia.
SUE BRYSON: It was just a normal Monday morning and I was just getting ready for work and I was listening to NPR.
BICHELL: Listening to Hodge's story, Bryson realized that right then, she was having similar symptoms, that she was having a stroke. So she called her neighbors and they took her to the emergency room.
BRYSON: I would have never gone to the hospital if I didn't hear your show - never.
BICHELL: Bryson is now back in the classroom and Hodge has made some changes. He moved into a bigger apartment. He walks up a flight of stairs each day without his cane to check the mail. He sometimes forgets things.
HODGE: Memory's not too bad, I mean, it's...
(SOUNDBITE OF CAT MEOWING)
HODGE: ...Stop it, Dexter (ph) - yeah, I got a cat. Her name is Dexter. She's gray and white. She's a calico. She's good company.
BICHELL: He's still struggling with a stiff leg and a hand that stays curled into a fist. Things would be a lot easier if he got a helper to come to his home, but he does not want one.
HODGE: No, I don't want one.
BICHELL: Because three years ago when he had his stroke, a doctor told Hodge that he'd never be able to work, drive or live on his own again.
HODGE: I said, what are you talking about? I said, I've been on my own since I was 19. So I kind of want to prove him wrong so I can go back one day and let him know exactly what I accomplished.
BICHELL: Getting his driver's license is at the top of his spring 2017 to-do list. And Hodge says he really wants a part-time job.
HODGE: I'm great for answering the phone, greeting people, talking to people. I'm really good at that. I'm just - I'm looking for something to do and not waste away.
BICHELL: He's hoping a job will come through in the New Year. In the meantime, one thing he is happy about is that by sharing his story, he helped someone else - Sue Bryson.
BRYSON: I feel like I've got my life back.
HODGE: Yeah, it's awesome. That was great.
BICHELL: Rae Ellen Bichell, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.