I thought I would share what it's like or was like for me to have a major stroke at 31. I had blood pressure issues all through my 20s but didn't feel bad so like most other young people, thinking I was untouchable by anything bad ,
I was not regular about taking my meds.
That was a big mistake for me because when I had the stroke, I became paralized on the right side. I had been in the mall shopping with my daughter the day before and the next day my life was changed forever..I couldn't do anything.
After that, I had to learn to walk, talk, do everything again. I remember the first day I was in the hospital, they brought me a menu and a pencil..I couldn't write. They then brought me steak for dinner and a knife..I couldn't use a fork much less a knife. I decided it was temporary..the Denial had set in) as well as ignorance of how much damage a stroke can do.
I had a real wake up call and I thought the world had come to an end and indeed it had in the lifestyle I was used to. No more dancing, running or at that time even walking.
I spent 8 weeks in the hospital receiving every form of therapy possible..(physica, occupational, recreational and psychiactric which I thought I don't need this...I felt like I was being punished for being ill..again Denial of the devastation of what had happened).
I found out what it was like to live in a bed or wheelchair, drool, ask for help for just about everything, lose my drivers license, be uable to go to the bathroom or shower alone, dress myself, write, tie my shoes..communicate.
I spent 3 years in rehab having physical therapy, and working harder than I ever had in my life but with the help of God and a lot of special people, I was able to regain most all my ability to take care of myself. I can walk with the aid of a brace on my leg, but I ditched the cane and wheelchair. I still have a little scooter that I use for long walks but I was able to go to school during that three years and retrain to begin a new career as a computer software developer and I eventually was able to type with both hands, since I had to learn to write with my left hand, I can now write with both hands (not beautifully but you could read it). I am now 45 and it took many years to see that I was blessed in a very special way with that stroke but I now know it to be true. I was taught patience, how to accept help, humility, and empathy and I learned that nobody is an exception to having tragedy or adversity. I learned to appreciate that I can tie my own shoes, take a shower without anyone helping me, I have a better career than I ever imagined and I have been blessed with a gift of being aware of all the small pleasures, new found self esteem..I am proud of my accomplishments and I want to offer hope to others who may be not as far along in their recovery. I still have a laundry list of medical problems but I know that I can handle whatever challenges are thrown my way and I know anyone who takes the time to read this little story can too. Being given the gift of mortality at 31 was a blessing in disguise and has strengthened me in ways I never thought possible. Lots of people have to live a lot longer than 31 years to gain peace with their own mortality. I am thankful.