Daniel Smith, MICP: My Speed Bump and How I Got Over It
My name is Daniel and I had a stroke in August 2008. I had a strange mental idea that something was not right for several hours. It was sort of like when you go outside and say, "I think it's going to rain." I had an " I think something is wrong."
After several hours of this my wife took me to the ER where I was evaluated—including a CT, blood work and all. Nothing was found to be wrong. I was kept overnight for observation and woke up in the morning having experienced a stroke in my Basil Ganglion. I had lost full use of my left side. I was sent to acute rehab at another hospital that specializes in stroke recovery. I was there for two weeks, but in the first day I realized how downtrodden stroke victims felt emotionally. I realized how closed off to the rest of the world they can feel.
I made it my goal at the first meal to learn every patient's name and story, and to include them in my day. I never let the therapist teach me any of the one-handed tricks, and I was labeled impulsive because rehab and its timeline was not fast enough for me. I was released after two weeks and went home to continue outpatient therapy. This included going to physical and occupational therapy at a clinic. Home therapy including pulling weeds and painting walls in our house.
After six months, typical therapy was not enough for me so I started lifting weights, beginning with five pounds on my affected side. I graduated to swimming and using the treadmill and stair-master. In order to return to work, I had to complete my rehab in one year. I had to be able to carry different weights—40, 90, 120, and 140 pounds—up a flight of stairs. I accomplished this in 11 months and returned to work as a 911 paramedic on an ambulance.
I have had the opportunity to help many people as they were having their stroke in the first minutes. My experiences enables me to comfort the families of stroke victims as it is happening. My continued goals in life include helping others who have had a stroke to learn to overcome their difficulties, and especially how to have a good emotional and mental outlook on their new lifestyle. I also want to be able to help family and friends to try and understand what their family member is experiencing and how they can help without helping too much. I am very thankful to my family and friends that supported me through my experience and I hope to make my life count to help others. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story. I hope I can help others.