Thoughts about the stroke

I have thought long and hard about whether I’d write about this or put it to video.  Video would probably be easier, but I need the practice typing.  Typing is a chore these days.  But, my right hand is making great strides and I want to keep challenging it.

Here’s the thing — because I had a stroke (six weeks ago now), I have been reading and attempting to educate myself.  What I’ve noticed is that most of the material written about strokes is presented from the perspective of people viewing the stroke victim.  Very little is written from the stroke victim’s perspective.  And I think I know why.

Strokes are amazingly deceptive.  The victim may not know what is wrong with them.  I kept insisting that I was fine.  Just need to sleep it off, etc.  But, I could not see me.  It took my daughter recognizing the signs (slurred speech, failing limbs, unnatural tiredness) and seeing that something was wrong, to make the call and get me to a hospital.

I think about my mother.  Granted, her strokes weren’t caused by blood pressure issues.  Hers were heart-related.  But even after losing her left side to paralysis and laying slumped over on a couch all day, she still argued with the paramedics that she did not want to be taken to the hospital (where she wound up in the ICU for several days).

And I get it.  I argued with everyone — doctors, nurses, my daughter, anyone who would listen — that I was fine and did not have a stroke.  It’s deceptive. It takes someone to intervene.

The tiredness was what most marked my early symptoms.  Yes, my right hand suddenly began typing nonsense.  It was tingling and eventually non-responsive.  But all I could think about was laying down.  It was sudden, like something broke.  I was very, very tired.  Unnaturally.

But, I thought I was going to be fine.  Just sleep.

Fortunately, my daughter intervened. She called 911.  The ambulance came.  And they hauled me off.

So, why do I tell you this?  In the hope that you’ll learn from my mistakes. I hope that I have.  But, it’s important that those who know you well recognize when something goes wrong. Time is of the essence.

I’m very fortunate.  Many things could have gone horribly wrong.  But, they didn’t.  Everyday I get something back.  My occupational therapist said good-bye for the last time yesterday.  My nurse and physical therapist said it would only be another week or so before they would discharge me.

And I’m fine.  I mean it.  I’m better.

I’m realizing that other people don’t see it like I do.  I recognize my own deficiencies. I process differently. It’s slower. How I search for words is different.  And I think people notice it.  But, my physical therapist said yesterday that, unless he was looking at a medical report, he wouldn’t believe I had a stroke just six weeks ago.

But, I know it.  I can feel it.  I am aware of it.  And I don’t want to do it again.

God is good.  Not because He has lifted me up, but because He is.  I am grateful for every little thing.  Balance, walking, talking, my right hand doing stuff … everything.  Fearfully and wonderfully made, said David.  And I believe him.

Bit by bit, I’m learning to accept my new process.  And it will get quicker with time.  Keep working.  Keep exercising.  Keep believing.

But, most of all, I’m just grateful.

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