My Stroke Story
My name is Gary Gray aka garydotgray. I live in Prince Edward Island, Canada. I have lived here all of my life except for a short tour of duty in the Canadian Armed Forces 1969 - 1975. I was married for 16 years and separated for the past 17. I have two great daughters Krista 29 and Karol 27. They both have families of their own now and working/living in Charlottetown. We see each other as often as we can.
I have one sister Irene who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I spent the month of February 2003 visiting her and her family. I flew from Charlottetown to Vancouver and back at 5 months post stroke and got along fine. I was able to complete the trip again in 2005 with a 6 week stay that time. We usually call each other about once a week ever since the stroke. (She now has a computer so communication is much easier using MSN messenger.) She has been a great support.
My stroke date was August 10, 2002 when I had stopped at a local coffee shop to grab a coffee. It happened right at the counter. I suddenly could not speak. Then numbness in my left arm and shoulder. Somehow, somewhere during my life I had learned the symptoms of stroke and I knew when I was losing my voice and when my side went weak, it was happening to me. My voice came back long enough for me to wisper 'I'm having a stroke call 911'
I blacked out and remained in various degrees of coma for three weeks. In going back and forth between hospitals, I had five ambulance rides and I don't remember any of them. I was aware sometimes of people being in my room but they had to be right in my face before I could deal with them.
I woke up on Sept 01, 2002 around 6:30 pm, just as two nurses were getting me ready for the night. I remember wondering why they were taking my clothes off. I asked them what was going on, and one of them looked at me and said 'Gary, you're back'.
For the next 7 weeks in hospital I had speech, physical and occupational therapies. I made good progress and was released on Oct 18, 2002. As I was not able to be on my own, my friends Chris and Magie Clarke became my caregivers and I lived with them from October 2002 until July 2003.
On August 01, 2003 I moved into a one bedroom apartment back in Montague. It is close to stores, Doctor's Office, Hospital, Library and bank ( I can walk to them all).
That same month I began going in to my old office job one day a week. In September 2003 I drove for the first time post stroke and got along well. It took me a long time to trust my body and my mind again. I exercise every day, no execptions, to keep my left side mobile. I spend one day a week with friends, doing service work. I have a few toys to assist me with independence such as a one handed can opener, a rocker knife, one handed portable vacuum and a wrist BP/P monitor.
I have also received visits and telephone calls of encouragement from stroke survivor buddies, friends and family during the period of time since my stroke. So I have learned to accept my life change, keep a good routine, set attainable short and long-term goals and keep a positive attitude.
Thanks for reading my story.