On January 4th, 2004 my life flipped upside down. I was merely a kid, unaware of what was happening, but that turned out to be the day where nothing would ever be the same. That was the day my dad had a massive stroke, a day that will forever live in infamy. It started out normal enough, but as my dad left the house and went to the grocery store, he could tell something was wrong. He kept dropping his grocery list, and when he arrived home, he told my mom what was happening. They eventually decided to go to the hospital, and I vividly remember looking out the window of my house and seeing my dad and mom hop into the car. Little did I know however, that was the last time I would see my dad in a normal state.
The next time I saw him, he was in urgent care with tubes all over him and desperately fighting for his life.
He survived, and spent months in the hospital relearning how to do the once simple tasks he took for granted.
The stroke had left him completely paralyzed on the entire left side of his body, and with significant brain damage.
Gone was the dad I once knew, replaced with someone almost unrecognizable.
This dad had verbal outbursts, and would often get angry over trivial things. This dad could no longer play with his sons, or help them with homework.
This dad required 24/7 care and support, and was hardly even a dad anymore, at least in the normal sense of the word.
When I was fifteen, I would later get a call telling me that my dad was dying, and that I needed to take the next plane out to Tennessee if I ever wanted to see him again.
He died as I held his hand, and I can still hear the sound of his breath growing shallower and shallower, until it stopped.
This all happened because of a stroke, something that was a random and unfortunate occurrence, and just so happened to choose my dad.
I guess I’m sharing my story in hopes that others can see just how devastating the effects of stroke can be, and to bring more awareness to the victims and survivors of strokes.
If you or anyone you know has been personally effected by a stroke, hang in there. Have faith that tomorrow will be better, and that the best days are still yet to come.
Stroke might make some things harder, but there are still things that are possible.