Download the show notes and full transcript of the conversation.

Terrifying. That’s the main thing Vanessa Abraham remembers from her experiences of being hospitalized.

In this second episode with Vanessa, hear how dark her thoughts got, and how she managed to pull through.

Discussion & Reflection Questions

  1. Do you acknowledge the small improvements in a patient client’s journey? Rather than passing or failing a step or procedure, how can you highlight achievements?
  2. Think about different ways you give control back to a patient who is feeling frustrated with changes in their ability to communicate. 
  3. How can you combine and help patients/clients reframe negative thoughts and keep a positive focus on the future, along with day-to-day care and strategies? 
  4. When you’re part of a team of healthcare professionals working with someone, reflect on how it may feel for the person to have a multitude of people to interact with.
  5. Are there simple acts of kindness you can do with a patient/client that may just make their day, and let them know that someone cares?

“… just help them keep the faith. Find something to be hopeful for in their life. Try to see what it is in their life that can give them hope, a reason to continue on, a reason to keep fighting. You need to look to the future, and say this is where I visualize myself, this is what I want from my life, and this is where I’m headed. This is not my forever. This is temporary.”

Vanessa Abraham

About Vanessa Abraham, 


Vanessa is a wife, mother and school based Speech-Language Pathologist. 

She learned firsthand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of speech services after experiencing a sudden-onset critical illness that left her with limb and neck paralysis as well as a PEG tube and tracheotomy. 

She was thrown into the rehabilitation world after being an independent, healthy and vibrant young mother. Through many swallow studies, voice therapy, OT and PT, she had to learn to eat, talk and move again. 

Her goal now is to help people critically ill patients cope with the grief they experience after a critical illness through speaking up about the topic of Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS), depression and anxiety post ICU in addition to educating families and patients about the various rehab modalities that have been successful for her.

Contact Vanessa Abraham

“The beauty of everything today, it’s not a pass or not pass, it’s look at what we’re learning, how we can compensate, and help you improve your overall safety. I might recommend something that the patient is not hoping for, and try to prevent it in the most positive way I can, e.g.  ‘Look what you can do. By following these recommendations, this minimizes your risk.’”

                Mattie Murrey-Tegels

Mattie Murrey Tegel, MA, CCC-SLP, L, CPC, CLSC

Medical Speech-Language Pathologist and Founder of Fresh SLP

Mattie Murrey-Tegels is the founder and SLP behind Fresh SLP and The Missing Link for SLPs Podcast. She’s been “in-the-trenches” as a medical SLP around the world for over 25 years and now an Assistant Professor for 3 years. She is thrilled to be adding this dream of a podcast because paying her experiences forward is something she is very passionate about. If you ask her patients and students, one thing they will remember is how much she loves her job! She may not look like it but she is a huge introvert and when she is not actively working as an SLP, she is almost always reading, writing (writing over 1,000,000 words a year), or listening to amazing Chicago Blues bands. She also loves being outdoors and definitely enjoys soaking up the sun at her home in Minnesota, where warm and sunny days can be limited. She’s ridden motorcycles for many years, raced sled dogs, hiked huge mountains yet she cherishes the quiet moments of climbing into a hammock to nap or timeless conversations with friends and family.

The Missing Link for SLPs podcast and Fresh SLP is her legacy, giving back to a career that has so richly rewarded her.

Thank you for listening to The Missing Link for SLPs podcast! If you enjoyed the show, I’d love you to subscribe, rate it and leave a short review. Also, please share an episode with a friend. Together we can raise awareness and help more SLPs find and connect those missing links to help them feel confident in their patient care every step of the way.

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Not a substitute for a formal SLP education or medical advice for patients/caregivers.

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