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Let Me Introduce Myself...Suse

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Guest suse

...I had my stroke on Ash Wednesday, (Feb. 21st) 1996. I was at work when it happened, and because of some basic medical knowledge, I knew what was happening. I had gone to the copier and started to feel like I was going to faint. I walked into the break room, heard a "rushing" sound in my ears. I told my boss to call 911 and my husband; then I fell over to my left, I couldn't swallow and my vision was messed up. I knew I had had a stroke.

I was brought to our local hospital and I remember arriving, but I don't remember anything else. No tests - nothing. I was then transferred to the University Hospital in our area, where I'm told the "fun" began. I write "fun" because I have no memory of the next three weeks.

My husband called my family together because my neurologist wasn't sure I'd pull through. In the ER the doctors placed a shunt in the front of my skull, put me on a ventilator, and inserted a nasal-gastric tube. I was then sent to Intensive Care. After I was weaned off the ventilator, I had a tracheotomy, and a more permanent feeding tube called a "peg." Everyone knew I was going to pull through when I ripped out everything; the shunt, trach and all IV's. Of course I had to be placed in restraints after that, and apparently I wasn't amused.

This whole time as I wrote earlier, I have no memory of. What I do remember are what I call "dreams." In my head I was everywhere but a hospital. (Must have been the morphine! :mrgreen: )

After I "came to" I was transferred to rehab. At this point I couldn't even sit up without help, couldn't speak because of the trach, and was getting all my nourishment through a tube. My days consisted of two hours of physical therapy, two hours of speech therapy, and two hours of occupational therapy. They were all relentless and I'm better off for it today.

My entire hospital stay, including rehab, was two months and two days. I've relearned how to walk, talk and write. I came home in a wheelchair, which lasted about a month; I then used a cane, and even though my balance is gone I don't use any type of aid when I walk now. It has now been almost eight years. I'm unable to drive or work outside my home. My independence has been lost and I think that's one of the hardest losses I've faced. I am alive though. A decent sense of humor has helped - immeasurably.

I'm married for the 2nd time; I have two kids and one grandchild. I live in rural Vermont and have three Labs: mother, son and daughter.


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Hi Susan

A warm welcome to BTG, thank you for sharing your story with us.

This is a wonderful site for any advice or help you need and I am sure either myself or someone will be able to help.

I look forward hearing from you some more.

Myra xx

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Hi Susan and welcome! :D

Losing you independence is awful and I've lost a fair degree of my own, so I can empathise with you. My balance and eyesight were also affected ...... having a bad spell of dizziness and weakness in my legs at the minute, which is driving me to distraction. Luckily, I can still drive (only short distance) to the local supermarket, but don't like to drive at all, when the dizziness hits me.

A sense of humour definetly helps.... :wink: but at times, I can completely lose mine and have a bit of a "hissy" fit .... but, it's also good to vent that frustration and get rid of it ..... I'm still on a steep learning curve with my own recovery, but I tend to go with the flow and just accept what happens and that I will have good and bad days....

Just noticed that you have 3 labradors ..... if you're ever looking for a book to read, try "Endal" .....it's about a Lab puppy that is trained to help the disabled ...... he's absolutely marvellous and he looks after a guy that's sufferered brain damage and helps him to re-intergrate with his family and society ..... I've just finished reading it and would recommend it.

Well, I'm waffling as per usual!

Love Karen x

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