Soon after I went into my doctors office (if you are in Seattle and need an excellent neurologist -- send me an email). Unable to walk straight, unable to stay awake and alert for more than a couple hours, entirely overwhelmingly terrified with how my future had just changed... my doc cleared boxes off an exam table (he had just moved into a new office), told me I wasn't on the right meds (given to me a week before by my crappy local hospital), told me they had misdiagnosed my type of stroke (nerds), and then looked me in the eye and said " In one year you won't even know this happened." Meaning that I would have no visible outward remnants of part of my brain being dead. I remember thinking he WAS NUTS... but he wasn't. Today I am close to how I was pre-stroke. Other than I weigh less, have a bit of short term memory spaciness, my muscle mass is different, I say things "differently" at times, and am on cursed cursed prescription drugs. But who's to say I wouldn't be a little ditzy and tongue-tied at this point anyway?
There always will be the life shift that happened on that day. I went from being in control of everything... farm, kids, finances, future -- to being in charge of not hitting the door jamb with the left side of my body when I walked through a door. I learned to accept help from others. My way of looking at life, disability, and independence took a tumble toward the real. You know, that we are not actually in control? I am very good at ignoring the unpleasant. Probably why I can own an old house... I can just merrily trudge through my home repair to-do list as an oblivious optimist. I read sometimes that when people survive something drastic they change their look on life. ( I have Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying, " going through my head right now). I thought all these life changing thoughts for about nine months and then realized : I wouldn't do anything different. This is the life I would lead if I knew I was going to die in a year. All the mistakes I've made, all the successes, my failed marriage... I wouldn't do it differently. I've got great kids, love where we live, have always had jobs that were ones I picked for interest and luckily supported me. I have not solved any world issues. I don't know how to stop young men from taking guns and harming strangers. I have not found the cure for cancer. But I have lived, gave friends hugs, had long conversations with my ma, laughed until I peed my pants (wait, should I be typin' that?), watched my kids grow with pride and love. I guess I don't record what is important to me anymore as the accomplishments that list my resume, and I used to. That is not what I will take to my grave, and that is certainly not what I thought of when I was in the hospital waiting for my stroke to do its damage.
I send out a lot of random prayers for health for other stroke recipients... since I received many from people I have never met. And this is not like anything you can prepare for, so random prayers alongside whatever your health providers do, whatever your family can give, however your friends can be there for you... it is all okay.