Before mid-January 2004, Scantlin's only way of communicating with family and nurses was by way of blinking her eyes, once for "no" and twice for "yes," as she remained confined to bed or wheel chair at the nursing home. Doctors at her nursing home could not explain why she started to speak, but attribute the development to brain tissue regeneration.
On February 8, 2005, the woman's mother, Betsy Scantlin, received a phone call from the nursing home asking her if she was sitting down, because they had someone who wanted to speak with her.
"Hi, mom," Sarah said on speakerphone.
It was the first time Betsy heard her daughter speak in two decades. Betsy asked her daughter if she needed anything before they visited that day, and she said she wanted some makeup.
Side effects from the accident continue to hamper Sarah's body with spasms and uncontrollable arm movements. Sarah had asked the nursing home to keep her reborn speaking ability quiet for a Valentine's Day gift to her parents, but decided to tell her family beforehand. Scantlin's father, Jim, said he knows his daughter will never fully recover, but he was overwhelmed by the development and overjoyed that his daughter regained her ability to speak.
The drunk driver who struck Scantlin served six months in jail for driving under the influence and for leaving the scene of an accident on 22 September 1984 at a teen dance club.
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