My name is Angie. While I’ll be the author of this blog, it’s inspired entirely by my desire to heal my Dad, and in doing so, share information with others that could benefit from his story.
On Christmas Day 2014, my Dad suffered a stroke. His MCA (middle cerebral artery) became blocked and cut off blood supply to the right half of his brain. Despite early intervention (we had him at the hospital and on TPA within 36 minutes), his stroke progressed and finalized, leaving him completely paralyzed on the left side of his body. He could not open his left, eye, swallow, speak clearly, move his left arm or leg and had fairly extensive cognitive damage. Much of the sharp, intelligent man that I’d spent 31 years of my life admiring, also couldn’t read, problem solve, recall or think clearly.
There is no single word that effectively describes the despair that stroke causes. Rather I’d have to say that this experience has added to my vocabulary, forcing me to search out SAT/GRE words that attempt to convey the complex emotions I feel from dawn to dusk and through my dreams/nightmares. While Dad didn’t die, much of the man that I grew up with did. I was left (barely) standing only to know that the road ahead would be long, emotional, uncertain and painful in every way possible.
Now, please don’t mistake me for a pessimist. I’m generally optimistic and upbeat. In this case my job left me with the “advantage” of seeing the shape of our potential future, and based on what existed in the current healthcare system to help Dad, my goal (getting my entire Dad back) seemed daunting. I’m an outpatient physical therapist. I’ve seen (from a healthcare providers perspective) how devastating stroke can be on a life. What I didn’t know is how naive I actually was. I couldn’t possibly begin to empathize with what the life of a stroke victim, and the life of their loved ones, actually looked like. Consider this my apology to every patient that I worked to rehab in the past, despite not fully understanding how devastating what you were enduring actually was.
This is blog will serve as documentation of Dad’s recovery and treatment. I’ll detail each and every intervention we have used, reference literature and provide guidance to those who need help. Because I feel that isn’t enough to help others, I’ll also describe the things that you won’t find in a textbook or the medical journals. Those moments that tear you apart, send you over the moon and leave you lost in between. My intention is to share the personal – and in doing so help others (especially those healthcare workers out there with no personal experience) see what stroke actually looks like.
“I’m too positive to be doubtful. To optimistic to be fearful. And to determined to be defeated.”