photo by motherdedia.com.au
I had a stroke almost 8 years ago. Can you believe it?
As I think back, I marvel with how far I have come. Of course, I am not where I WANT to be! That is normal…right? When I look at pictures of me in the hospital, I think about all the people who visited me during that time and I am grateful to all of you who visited me during those tough times.
I said it best in my talk:
After the stroke…
You might think those first few days after the stroke were tough, but they were EASY compared to the next 3 weeks at Rehab. I was completely dependent upon others for all my needs… but really…. all I wanted to do was just sleep. But they don’t let you “just sleep” at Rehab. Recovery is the total focus. Goals, instruction, repetition and discipline. These were the elements I had to embrace if I ever wanted to get up and get out of my wheelchair, and if I ever wanted to speak again. That was my Everest, that was my Olympic medal — to get up…and walk and talk and think and function like the person I had been only a few days before.
It was so hard. I was so tired, and my brain was so scrambled – I couldn’t make sense of anything. In speech therapy, I couldn’t point to a red triangle or a green square because I couldn’t make sense of those words.
In Occupational Therapy, I watched the therapist move my arm but I felt no connection to it. In physical therapy, I couldn’t move my right leg because my brain didn’t recognize those muscles anymore. My whole right side slumped and sagged, forgotten by my damaged brain like a virus that has been deleted from a computer. Everything I did or tried to do required all my attention.
How am I now?
- My right side is at 90%. I still can’t write, but that is my next goal.
- Golf is coming back…slowly
- I am still TRYING to get back to work. That is more difficult than I ever imagined!
But why am I happy???
- I walk 10,000 steps per day; I have peaked at 16,000 steps per day!
- I love my wife…even after 25 years together
- I wake up and thank God I am still alive …and I truly look forward to the day ahead of me
I can look at how I am now….or I can look at why I am happy just to be here. I am choosing number #2: why I am happy just to be here.
Regarding #1: I will eventually get there; it just takes time. Who knows: When I do this again in another 8 years, I may be cured! I am banking on it!