CHAPTER SUMMARY

 

  1. Tough Journey Indeed:  Healthy, active, 51-year old Gordon wakes up in the middle of the night unable to see out of his left eye.  The ER doctor guesses the problem is a detached retina and we come home, planning to see an ophthalmologist in the morning.
  2. Oh, If It Were Only That Easy:  Gordon suffers a massive stroke.  Surgeons attempt a clot retrieval procedure while the organ donation person tells Jill to prepare for hard decisions.
  3. Gordon Wakes Up:  Gordon is alive but cannot speak, cannot move the right side of his body, and doesn’t remember Jill or the children.
  4. Recovering!:  Gordon begins to recover at an amazing pace.  Well wishes pour in from the community.  Jill and Gordon are optimistic about his recovery.
  5. Rehab:  Gordon is moved to the rehabilitation hospital and is excited to work hard and fully recover in six months.
  6. But Then… :  On Day 8 Gordon experiences excruciating pain in his head and all his progress disappears.  Jill must deal with the non-answers from the medical community, keep a brave face for Gordon and the kids, and address the financial implications.  God provides support in interesting ways.
  7. Recovering—Take 2:  Gordon begins to understand what happened to him.  Jill anticipates life as a caregiver.
  8. Going Home:  Gordon and Jill decide to focus on the neurosurgeon’s comment “Those who want it most recover best.”  The long slog of recovery begins. Jill leans heavily on God’s words of hope and encouragement to get through each day.
  9. Who Am I and How Did I Get Here?:  Jill reflects on her early days and the experiences that prepared her for the challenges now facing her and her family.
  10. We Meet:  Gordon was another girl’s blind date but he ended up with Jill instead.
  11. We Marry:  Gordon the entrepreneur and Jill the non-risk taker make a life together.  Jill’s faith is tested.
  12. We Almost Made It:  Gordon’s character is revealed when his former company is dissolved.
  13. It Is Time To Leave:  Gordon and Jill move their family to Oregon, anxious to start a new life in a new town.  Nothing goes as planned.  Gordon suffers a massive stroke.
  14. Recovery:  The crazy, disturbing, unpredictable twists and turns of Gordon’s recovery are detailed.  Jill works to maintain the relationship she wants to have with Gordon.
  15. The Children:  Rachel (14) and Tom (12) struggle with the changes in their dad and in their lives.  Jill contemplates the long-term implications for them due to this devastating event.
  16. Back to Recovery:  Gordon’s erratic behavior slowly subsides and he yearns to once again be funny.
  17. Our New Normal Was Beginning To Form:  Everything looks the same but nothing is the same.  Jill searches for hope.
  18. Who Am I Now?  Jill examines her faith and consciously determines her attitude going forward.  Jill acknowledges her powerlessness and embraces Surrender.
  19. Acceptance:  Jill makes peace with her changed life and discusses the challenges.
  20. Becoming New Gordon:  Gordon seeks to be the man he once was, relearning technology, talking on the phone, and driving.  He begins the long journey of becoming the man of the house again.
  21. Every Day Life:  Gordon and Jill establish routines at home that will aid Gordon’s independence.  They question the medical community’s standard responses to stroke recovery questions and establish their own prescription for recovery.
  22. Back To Work:  Gordon still does not comprehend how badly he was affected by the stroke and insists on trying to be an independent consultant again.  It is a devastating, heartbreaking experience for Jill.
  23. We Need a Partner:  Gordon and Jill continue the consulting effort with a former work associate and friend.  The arrangement creates an illusion that Gordon can work again.
  24. Now What?:  Gordon wants to talk about the stroke and recovery experience, even though his language is broken.  Gordon practices for eight months to read a 35-minute speech called “My Brain Has A Hole In It.”
  25. A Speaking-impaired Speaker:  The speaking experience is deep and meaningful for both Gordon and Jill.  Gordon decides to make speaking a career.
  26. Commitment, Gratitude, and Why Me?:  Jill reflects on their commitment to marriage, faith, family, and their decision to be grateful rather than lamenting “Why me?”
  27. What Is The Plan?  Jill trusts that God has a plan to use Gordon’s stroke for something good and acknowledges that she may never know that plan.
  28. Looking Forward:  Jill submits to the love and power of God and accepts the joy of this moment in time.

Appendix

What is Gordon’s Recovery Path?:  A timeline showing Gordon’s recovery progress so far.

Personal Preparedness:  A list of documents and information to prepare before disaster strikes.

“If There Is Anything I Can Do…”:  Jill lists some specific ways a person can be helpful to those in crisis.

 

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