In September 2013, I was relaxing in my recliner. I experienced a momentary dimming of my vision. Although I experienced no pain, I realized that I felt very weak and could not walk. I called out to my wife. She hurried to my side and immediately called an ambulance. I felt a degree of mental confusion.
The Fire Department Arrived
I was looking out the window and wondered why the fire truck was stopping in front of our home. Had 911 mistakenly believed we had a fire? The fire department was stationed nearer to our home and was offering assistance until the emergency squad arrived.
I was transported by ambulance to the local hospital and then shuttled to a nearby metropolitan hospital.
A Blood Clot-Busting Chemical Did the Job
After taking a brain scan, they determined that I had indeed had a stroke. They gave me an aspirin as a preventative measure against more blood clots. I began receiving a blood clot-dissolving drug about 20 hours later.
I was confined to a hospital bed or chair for nine days. I was very weak and had difficulty raising up in bed. My right side was half-numb. Regretfully, due to loss of sensitivity in my taste buds, my enjoyment of food is greatly reduced. The upside is that I have experienced a much-needed loss of 23 pounds. I may live longer but enjoy it less.
Upon Discharge, I Could Not Walk
I received daily sessions of physical therapy, which restored a degree of body strength, but upon leaving the hospital, I still could not walk unassisted.
I spent the next 14 days in the physical therapy department of our local hospital. They taught me to walk again while using a walker. I learned that sitting in and rising from a chair is mostly a matter of leaning forward to maintain your balance. I was kindly pushed to extend my endurance. Pleasantly, I got to play Scrabble to hone my memory skills.
Three Months of Outpatient Therapy Were Tiresome But Necessary.
Upon release, I underwent three months of thrice-weekly outpatient physical therapy. This included mental exercises to improve my short-term memory.
Although I have not returned to normal, I can drive around town and go shopping, while using a walker. I still write a monthly column for the local newspaper. My most difficult problem is memory lapses such as running out of medicine or forgetting an appointment.
My advice to fellow stroke victims is to accept your mental and physical deficiencies and use your ingenuity to cope the best you can. Complete your physical therapy and continue to practice it at home. Take your medicine faithfully and be happy you are alive.
“Clot-dissolving (Thrombolytic) Drugs”/WebMD