, Newburyport, MA

Local News

August 8, 2012

On the road to recovery

Months after her stroke made national news, local woman sees health improving 


Brutal though conditions may have been, at the end of her second assignment, Douceur was offered another promotion by RPS.

“I liked the work there,” she said. “I took the offer.” She signed on to be the site manager at the Pole station from October 2010 to October 2011.

But as good a year as 2010 had been for her, 2011 worked out to be troublesome. As site manager Douceur was not only responsible for the station but also for the 49 people working there. It turned out to be a stressful time.

Then, on Aug. 27, 2010, while working to arrange an emergency air drop of medication for one of the staff who was ill, Douceur’s vision failed while she was at the computer.

“I could only see half of the page,” she said. “I’d been up for 48 hours, I thought to myself, ‘You’re tired, you just need some sleep.’ “

But after six hours of sleep, when she woke up, there was no improvement. Douceur went to the station clinic to see the doctor, who initially diagnosed a detached retina. But after the doctor called Texas for a consultation, that changed.

“They told her they thought I’d had a stroke,” Douceur said. “I cried. I was stunned. My mother had had a stroke.”

A teleconference call with the medical director for the station followed and it brought encouraging news.

“They said, ‘We’re going to try to get you out of there in a couple of weeks,’” Douceur said. “I said, ‘OK, fine.’”

But soon after, Douceur was told RSP was planning on waiting until October to get her off, when the regular flight was due. That decision was unacceptable.

“This was my brain they were dealing with,” she said. “I’m not a stupid person, and I understand policy and procedure. But when a doctor says, she needs to go, then you need to go.”

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