For 45 years and 363 days both my legs and both my arms worked. One evening (Dec 29, 2013) in a split second that all changed. The right side of my body was paralyzed, from the top of my head (including half my face) to the end of my toes.
I had a stroke. The type I had was a hemorrhagic stroke. Basically there was a bleed in my brain.
2 days later (new years eve) I had a seizure and they found out that I was still bleeding (they had thought it had stopped bleeding and I was getting better). The doctors told my family I was brain dead and they should prepare for the worst. I was put into a private room and was given the Last Rights. My family was then left alone with me to say their farewells.
Since you are reading this you know things didn’t go as planned. I’m a software developer… Nothing ever goes as planned.
The next day I woke up. I called everyone to stand around the bed and I hugged each one of them. I think at this moment I knew I was going to be ok. Then I slept. A lot.
I spent 44 days at Concordia. I can’t say enough about the nurses and other staff there. They were awesome. The night they thought I was going die, there was one nurse who comforted my wife all through the night. I’ll never forget that.
On Valentine’s Day I was sent to Riverview to begin rehabilitation. I was one of 30 people (at a time) who go there to undergo therapy to get you to a state where you can go home. I was there approximately 3.5 months. While I was there I worked on physio, occupation therapy and speech. I can only say positive things about this place. EXCEPT the food. I lost around 120lb since the stroke and it wasn’t because they have awesome racquet courts. I’ll leave it at that. I made a lot of friends there, both fellow patients and staff. The last week I was there my femur was damaged (hairline fracture) during an exercise, it healed on its own.
Now I am home. Things are different than before the stroke. I am walking with a cane. Shuffling along would be a more accurate description. Since my right side is mostly still paralyzed, I cannot carry anything, but with a bit of ingenuity you’d be surprised at what I can do.
My wife has to do everything. She even learned how to drive. I drive the remote (the only thing MPI will still let me drive). My wife is incredible. I had the stroke, but it has affected her just as much, just in different ways.
I am getting therapy five days a week. It is going well. Manitoba has a great stroke rehab program. I am seeing small improvements all the time and hopefully they will lead to big improvements. But if this is as good as it gets, I can live with that. It sure beats the alternative.
I have been through a lot, but I have also learned a lot as well. My advice to each of you is that you only have one body. Treat it well. It can take a beating, but only so much. Before the stroke the worse thing I did to myself was breaking my wrist getting out of my hot tub. Or so I thought! That hurt, but the real damage was my lifestyle. The lifestyle I had been living for many years before ever breaking my wrist. That is probably the biggest factor in why I am sitting here writing about the stroke I had.
I hope none of you have to go through what I do. Don’t make the same mistakes I have, and you will be on the right track.