When I awoke again I became aware of what I had only vaguely realized earlier: I was unable to move my left arms and hands and legs and feet. My left side was paralyzed.
I woke the DF&C and explained my predicament.
"Oh, you've probably had a stoke," she said matter of factly. The DF&C would know about such things because she has been a critical care nurse par excellance for many years.
I was not predisposed to stroke. But just like the lady tells the cop in the Gary Larson "Far Side" cartoon above, which ironically was the offering on my desk calendar pad the very next day:
And then wham! This thing just came right out of left field. The DF&C knew from experience that it was past time to rush me to the understaffed local emergency room. So she weighed my options and decided on driving me to a regional hospital where I was likely to get comprehensive care.
I was discharged in only five days and could go back to Kiko's House rather than to an interim residential care facility.
I was able to return home so quickly because I had worked hard to begin my recovery and the staff knew that I had a formidable helpmate in the DF&C. In addition to my PT-OT regimen, she made me swim daily -- or rather an ugly approximation of swimming -- and I was quickly back on my feet. I discarded my walker in a few days and my cane a few days later.
I was driving again in a couple of weeks and by the three-month mark had probably made close to a 90 percent recovery.How did I do it?
I had excellent health insurance, got excellent care, had the support of my family and, of course, the DF&C. I learned from all the hospital tests that I was healthier than I had any reason to expect and as a result of an improved post-stroke diet and nutritional supplements I actually feel better and think more clearly than before I went splat. I no longer get leg cramps, as well.
If there's a moral to my story it's that:
If you're going to have a stoke, have one in bed with a critical care nurse.
As good as my recovery has been, no one will confuse me for Ian Thorpe when I get into a swimming pool. I also didn't think that I'd ever be able to ride my mountain bike again.
I took my first tentative bike ride five years ago today and have been a pedaling fool ever since.