After experiencing a Lacunar Stroke in April of 2005, and after spending one night in the hospital, I returned to work three days later. I had a lot of residual effects of the stroke, however, had no insurance for another month in the hospital. I had only started working at a rehab center as a Speech Therapy Aide in January of 2005, and employee insurance hadn't taken effect yet. I worked with many physical and psychological issues for another year, and then experienced three TIA's in as many months.
I continued to work until I couldn't push myself any longer. I was determined to not be like my TBA (traumatic brain injury) clients. Working with these clients helped me master my speech, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and many other problems that I was facing every day. In September of 2007, I realized that I wasn't the same as I was BEFORE having the stroke. I couldn't keep up with the clients or even other staff. I had to climb stairs frequently on a daily basis, as well as carry materials around the complex which is on the side of a mountain.
I felt like I was existing in a fog.
The deciding point of not being able to do this job, was when the clients were teaching ME how to keep organized and how to not get confused. When I finally did leave my job, it saddened my heart, as I still miss the clients and the other therapists. As the days went on, I found that there wasn't much that I could do on my own and I had to have a friend help me. I moved into my friends home, and he helped me re-learn how to cook, clean and how to take care of myself.
Now, five and a half years post stroke, I am able to do housework, cook, drive and go to many doctor appointments on my own, whereas before, I needed help getting around. I use a cane to keep me balanced, and had quite a time accepting the need for it. But now, it's just an extended appendage of me. Since the initial stroke, I have developed all kinds of health issues from high blood pressure to Post Polio Syndrome, and a lot of medical problems in between. But I do persevere.
I now volunteer a few hours a week as a tutor to a first grade student. I love it, I love her, and she loves the attention that I give her. We have become very attached to each other. I was a very physically active person before the stroke. I was always involved with, or doing something. It's not like that anymore. So suffice it to say, my life has dramatically and drastically changed since having that stroke. In some ways, it has made me a better person, and has helped me understand disabilities better and on a more personal level. In other ways, it makes me sad that I sometimes have to depend on others to do the things that I was capable of doing before the stroke.
I want to work again, however I know that it is probably not in my future. I don't like having to depend on the government to pay for my food and my medical bills. But without the government, I don't know what would have happened to me, or where I would be today. My life is so different now than what it was before having the stroke. I do hope that someday, I will be able to get back to doing almost all of the things that I used to be able to do.
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