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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

World Stroke Day is Today

Today, October 29, 2013 is World Stroke Day. Stats say one in six people will have a stroke in their lifetime. If you are that one in six, you may not survive it depending on what kind it is and where you are when it happens.

Imagine your life today. You can drive, walk, communicate, do just about anything you can think of. Now imagine you are trapped inside your own body, unable to move, unable to communicate, unable to do any of those things you are used to doing? You know what you want to say, you know what you want to do but you cannot do any of those things at all. You cannot reach out and touch your loved ones or talk to them anymore because you are frozen or simply cannot remember how to do the simplest things. Can you imagine one of your loved ones in this situation? Watching them struggle, knowing it is hard. Knowing you cannot do anything but try to help and guess at what they want to say or do until they can communicate? Watching them try to move or communicate and seeing the frustration in their face and the tension as they struggle to get the simplest thing across?

We take so much for granted. We expect to get up every morning and go about our day like normal. We are so very blessed to be able to do ‘normal, everyday’ things without truly struggling.

October 10, 2013 was a ‘normal’ day for me until about 10:30 am when I got the call that made a drastic change in not only my life but my family’s life. My Dad had an Ischemic stroke that day. We were lucky. So lucky he was with friends. So lucky he was near where they could get him medical care quickly. So lucky he was not alone at home. So thankful he was not driving to a remote location as he often does for his work. 

I arrived at the hospital and watched a man I have known all my life as a stubborn, hard-working, loving and very independent man be laid low by a stroke. I watched his frustration as he struggled to communicate. I have never ever seen my Dad struggle in his life. It was so hard to watch and not be able to just ‘fix it’. My Dad has always ‘fixed everything’ for me in my life or taught me how to deal with it so that it was as ‘fixed as it could get’. I learned by watching him as I still do to this day. 

I sit here with tears in my eyes as I recall that day. I have said many prayers since that day for both him, our family and so many countless others that have been affected in some way by a stroke. It was a hard day. The days since have been full of encouragement however as I saw the wonders of modern medicine unfold.

We are so blessed and lucky that we have our Dad today. I watched within 24 hours as he regained his speech completely and could talk without being so frustrated. I watched as he gained strength in his arm and leg. Within a week from being admitted to the hospital he was released to a facility where he could get the rehab he needed. Today, on World Stroke Day he was released to go home.

Incredibly, 19 days after a stroke my Dad is home. Is he fully recovered? No, but he is well enough to be home to finish his recovery. He is expected to have a full 100% recovery of the use of his arm, hand and leg with the rehab. I simply cannot begin to explain how grateful I am for this. I know there are so many others who are and will always struggle in some way after a stroke due to how it affects everyone differently. There are some who did not make it. My thoughts and prayers go out to all who are affected by this illness in some way.

What can you do? Get educated about stroke. I am doing that and barely have scratched the surface on the information available. Learn how to reduce your risk factors. Talk to your doctor if people in your family have been affected. Click here to learn more about stroke. The more you know, the more we all benefit because I am here to tell you right now that the outcome for my Dad would have been a totally different one if he had not received medical attention quickly. Time is of the essence. Learning makes us all better so we can help others and get help for those who need it as we recognize things are occurring. Share this post with others so they learn and are aware. Keep checking back as I share what I learn as well. I am on a quest to know as much as I can to not only reduce risk for my family but to help anyone else that I can as well.

Comments and/or questions are welcome!