On February 23rd of this year, I had a stroke. The terrible thing about a stroke is that there are no symptoms prior to having one, nothing to prepare you. It just comes at you, and it comes at you hard.

My only warning was a funny feeling that something was wrong, nothing specific. I said to my wife, Nancy, “I don’t feel well,” and she suggested I have some lunch. So, I made some and just as I went to sit down and eat, it hit me on the side of the head—literally.

The pain was sharp but brief, and I fell with no power to stop it or get up. In that instant I had gone from fully mobile, wide awake human being to a functional cripple.

My wife called 911, and within 5 minutes there were about 20 people in the room. I couldn’t move but I could talk and joked with the ambulance crew that last time I was in ambulance I was 12 years old, and it was a Cadillac, not the van they were loading me into.

But this was no time for joking, and they whisked me away and drove the mile and a half to Dominican Hospital with sirens blazing. Meanwhile my wife was left wondering where I was as they took me into the emergency room and wouldn’t let her near me or say where I was. Covid rules prevailed.

The first of the scary moments had arrived, but there would be few of them as Nancy doesn’t do well with having scary moments. By the next morning she had found out that the stroke was caused by a vein collapsing in on itself. It is a type of stroke that typically strikes smokers, drinkers, diabetics and old people. I don’t smoke or drink and I am not diabetic, but I am 78 years old.

So, the stroke was real, but it was treatable. The question was where to find good treatment, and it turned out that Dominican Hospital where I had been taken has an Acute Rehabilitation Unit on the premises. This type of unit is small and handles no more than about 20 or 30 patients, but with a whole lot of cajoling on Nancy’s part she got me in.

Stroke recovery is not strictly speaking a medical problem, so the unit has few doctors. But it has a lot of therapists including physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists. There is also a supply of nurses and nurses’ aides to take care of your every need.

In my case the right side was in bad shape. The right arm was immobile, and the right leg was weakened to the point that I could not walk. My speech was somewhat damaged but was understandable.

The next morning, I met physical and occupational therapists who evaluated me and who told me what to expect. There are no miracles in this business, its all about the work you put into it. They asked me what I wanted to get out of the program, and I told them that I wanted the use of my right arm, I wanted to be able to walk, and I wanted to be able to drive my new Mustang Mach-E.

We agreed there would be a lot of work if I was to have any hope of recovery.

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14 thoughts on “STROKE!

  1. Scary stuff, John, but I, for one, appreciate your description of what happened. My first thought was that STROKE must be what they call the Silent Killer, but no, that’s high blood pressure. I’ll be 82 this year, and like you neither drink nor smoke. However, I do have HBP, which can lead to stroke.

    I expect you’ll invest what ever amount of effort required to recover to the extent possible. I hope you’ll document this long journey, highs and lows through this medium. I’ll be cheering you on!

  2. John – thank you for the courage of sharing. Am wishing you all the best thoughts and energy for continuing your road to recovery.

  3. So happy to see you wrote this blog my dear friend! Keep up all the hard work! You have many fans right behind you cheering you on and sending you strength! Lots of love to you always Mr D

  4. You are on the road to recovery, and thankfully your writing about it will keep your friends and family informed of your progress. Keep on sharing your story and wishing you all the best 👌🙏👍

  5. John, You are awesome! I respect and cheer loudly as you’ve made lemonade from lemons. I pray for you and Nancy on your difficult journey. I look forward to your updates and think often of you both, zapping strength and energy and love from NJ to California!

  6. As always John, you have an amazing ability to unify the thoughts of so many as you document that very scary event. Your plunge into writing will be healing to many not just for yourself. Thank you for taking pen to paper again (or fingers to keys)! Looking forward to going on your journey with you.

  7. John: I did not know you had had a stroke, but I am heartened at the mental acuity you obviously retain in full! Hopefully, by now (mid-April), that your physical self has improved and that you are back behind the wheel of your Mustang! I look forward to your next installment.

  8. Oh my gosh! John, I am so sorry to hear this news. You are strong and wise and I am holding thoughts for your complete recovery in my heart. Love to you and Nancy,

  9. Oh John I was so sorry to hear this but glad to see you’re tackling it ‘head’ on. 🙂 You’re strong and determined, as always. I look forward to reading about your journey. You’ve got this, my friend!!

  10. John, I appreciate your using your energy, smarts and wit to write about this thing that may affect any one of us. Years ago my David had a lacunar stroke, which left no aftereffects – so we were lucky. I look forward to further postings from you as you work your way towards wholeness. The car should be a great motivator!
    Just so you know, I’m keeping my eye on McCloskey for you!

  11. John, It’s so good to see that you are progressing and able to so cogently let us know how you are doing. May you keep getting more and more able to resume the activities you love and drive the Mustang!

  12. John D From another John D…great articulation of what you went through and means to recovery!

  13. Thanks for forwarding your blogs. I love you. No grass growing under YOUR feet…ever!!! Your cuz loves you!!! Mareli

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