Glenn - My Stutter, My Family and My Job

Glenn continues to work on his stutter and live life for his family his job and his own self improvement,


I have been an overt stutterer for as long as I can remember. I learned of the McGuire Programme™ and attended my first course when I was nearing forty. I was already a Respiratory Therapist and had a wife and teenage daughter but my speech did bother me greatly.

I never knew how to get control over it or how to deal with any of the psychological aspects before my first course. Since then I have attended several. I learn something new on every course and being on a course is such an incredible experience.


At that time in my life, I was interested in advancing in my career. Shortly after my first McGuire course, I became a dayshift ‘Lead Therapist’ and two years later I became ‘Clinical Supervisor’ of our department. I worked in this position for eight years. I enjoyed having a direct impact on daily operations, interviewing/hiring and department planning for the future. The work was exhausting and I spent more time at work than I did at home. As I approached 50, I wanted to decrease the amount of time that I spent at work to be at home more with my wife and sharing our interests. So, the month I turned 50, I went back to taking care of patients’ full time and working fewer hours. 


The current COVID-19 pandemic is challenging everyone across the globe. Over the past 30 years, I have seen a lot of challenging situations as a Respiratory Therapist. 

As a Respiratory Therapist, I am now mainly working in the Intensive Care Units (ICU) and Emergency Department during this pandemic. In late March 2020, we had a few non-critical COVID-19 patients on a general care floor designated for these patients. This time of the year we are also busy with patients with the flu and other respiratory conditions. At that time, we had a section of ICU specially prepared for COVID-19 patients but it only had a few patients and they weren’t on ventilators. This was about to change rapidly.


One night I was the Respiratory Therapist covering the Emergency Department and received three calls in four minutes. Each call was basically the same. “Glenn, we are getting a respiratory failure patient into room 4, 32, 29 and will need a ventilator,” I called two other RT’s to assist. In the time before the patients arrived the teams in each of the rooms donned their PPE and did final checks to ensure no leaks were present. There was a tense silence that went over the room as we waited the final seconds before the first patient arrived. The first patient arrived in my room. The patient was intubated and placed on the ventilator and stabilized within 20 -30 minutes. As I was documenting a ventilator check, I received another call for a patient that was in respiratory failure about to arrive in room 3. For some reason I immediately thought that Chicken Little was right… “the sky is falling.” I immediately prepared for room 3. The same process occurred with this patient too. 


Testing revealed three of the four patients were COVID+. The other was in respiratory failure for other reasons. Thankfully I received no more calls that night for new patients arriving in respiratory failure. Once the three were confirmed positive the process of transporting them to the ICU COVID+ unit began. After transporting the last patient out of the Emergency Department, it felt like we had fought the first skirmish and had joined the war on COVID-19. Over the next weeks, we received more COVID+ patients but not as rapidly as the night I just described. We continue to have COVID+ patients admitted and many do require mechanical ventilation or other specialized equipment and care that the respiratory team provides. We have gone through tremendous change the past few months. 


We have learned a lot on how to treat the patients and ways to protect ourselves utilizing strict infection control rituals that we use in the hospital and when arriving home. I am lucky to be facing this virus head-on. 


I believe the psychological aspects of the McGuire program helped me to realize that it was ok to make this change and go back to taking care of patients’ full time.

The physical and psychological skills that we learn in the program have definitely helped me in my career. I am a work in progress with my speech and will be for the rest of my life. The McGuire Programme has made a positive impact on the last 10 years of my life and I suspect that it will continue to do so for a long time. 


The program was really life-changing for me.

Glenn McMasters