In a new interview with Rolling Stone, singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams reveals that she had a stroke in 2020. A few days before Thanksgiving, Williams was in the bathroom of her Nashville home getting ready to take a shower when she began to have trouble keeping her balance. She stumbled a bit and couldn’t stand up straight or walk.
She called out to her husband, Tom Overby, who happened to be on the phone with their primary care physician. When he relayed Williams’ symptoms to their doctor, he was told to quickly get her to a hospital. “An ambulance came and got me and we told them not to put the big siren on. We didn’t want to alarm the neighbors or anything,” Williams tells Rolling Stone in her first interview since suffering the stroke on November 17th. “But they put the siren on.”
Williams was rushed to Nashville’s Vanderbilt Medical Center, where she spent a week in the intensive care unit undergoing multiple tests. Doctors discovered a blood clot on the right side of her brain, which affected the left side of her body. Williams was transferred to a rehabilitation center at Vanderbilt to begin a month-long treatment of therapy. Finally, five weeks after the episode, on December 21st, she was discharged and returned home.
For the past six months, Williams, who turned 68 in January, has been working with therapists to fix the damage done by the stroke. Her prognosis is a 100% recovery, as doctors saw no signs of brain damage. “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,” Williams says. “So that’s the biggest challenge.”
Overall, Williams seems unbothered by the whole ordeal and has assured fans not to worry. “The main thing is I can still sing. I’m singing my ass off, so that hasn’t been affected,” Williams says. “Can’t keep me down for too long.” Williams released an album last year and was recently announced as part of the lineup for the Mempho Music Festival.
Photo credit: Sharon Alagna