Chris W. Wednesday, November 30, 2011
By: Chris W.
Play it again!
Chris W. thought his life would never be the same when he had a stroke in October 2010. The stroke was quite severe and he was in ICU for three days. Then, he was transferred to the stroke rehabilitation unit at his hospital. When he first arrived at this unit, he was not even able to get out of bed due to the spasticity on his left side. He immediately started intense physical therapy and slowly, but surely, started getting up and about working toward doing some things for himself. It was pretty difficult for him emotionally. He went from teaching and working as an administrator at a state university and producing music at the recording studio he owns, to being a person who needed help with simple everyday tasks.
When he was in the stroke rehab unit, the staff let him bring his keyboard so he could sit and play music after therapy. It was frustrating for him at that point, as he was not able to play like he used to do. His hands simply wouldn't do what he wanted. At the same time, it was nice for him to have something to do besides lay in bed watching TV. Some of his musician friends visited, bringing their acoustic instruments with them. Many nights, the nurses and other patients enjoyed impromptu live music. This helped Chris realize that his life didn't need to be defined by this stroke. He was still, in many ways, the same person that he was before he had the stroke. He just had some additional challenges.
He has been contending with those challenges to the best of his ability. One disappointment was not being able to teach and work at the university anymore. His brain has trouble processing multiple things at the same time, and he gets confused if there is too much input. He refused, however, to sit around and feel sorry for himself. He is a person who needs something to do on a daily basis.
For this, Chris turned to Media Design House, the recording studio that he has operated out of his house, part time, for many years. He realized this stroke was an opportunity to be in the studio more, something he loved to do. He started producing music again. At first, it was difficult because he had to relearn some aspects of the recording software he used. It also took him a bit longer to perform some tasks, but most clients understood. One client even purchased a tactile device controller that made it easier for him to record with his limited left side mobility.
About six months after the stroke, Chris received a phone call from a young musician named Mindy Braasch. Mindy was looking for a producer for a debut CD project and wondered whether he would be interested in the job. He knew immediately that he wanted to take on the project.
Mindy and Chris have worked together for the last six months and the album called, "Voices," has just been released. He is absolutely thrilled with the final product and excited about her future prospects. She had a music video of her first single, titled "Lies." Most exciting is that Chris finally gained back his ability to play the keyboard. In fact, that's him in the video playing the B3 organ!
Display of the Faces of Stroke stories does not imply National Stroke Association's endorsement of any product, treatment, service or entity. National Stroke Association strongly recommends that people ask a healthcare professional about diagnosis and treatment questions before using any product, treatment or service. The views expressed through the stories reflect those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of National Stroke Association.