At the rehab unit, I start a new life as a stroke survivor
Good Friday, April 22, 2011—That was the day three years ago that a blood vessel in my brain sprung a major leak. It was a severe hemorrhagic stroke.
After a seven-day stay in ICU at our local hospital, I was transferred to an inpatient rehab unit at a larger hospital.
The next morning, Day 8, I experienced my first occupational therapy in the rehab unit. Ashley, the occupational therapist, had come in that Saturday specifically to start teaching me to transfer from wheelchair to potty and to shower safely.
It took me all 27 days of my inpatient therapy to master the rudimentary maneuvers she introduced. That morning she coached me and with the help of another woman moved me onto the potty.
Then she left me under the watchful eye of the other woman and disappeared for a while. When she returned, a striking young man accompanied her. Ashley introduced him as an OT tech who would be working with me.
I could feel my eyes bulge and my jaw drop. I gathered the few wits left to me and acknowledged the introduction.
Ever compelled to fill silence, I blurted, "Well, this is the first time I've ever met a good looking guy while I was on the potty."
Several weeks later, having a male tech help with my shower for the first time wasn’t quite as big a shock.
By that time I had learned to appreciate those techs, both male and female. They all worked hard to keep their patients safe while helping them maintain as much modesty and dignity as possible. And some of the most helpful tips came from their wealth of practical experience.
Therapy techs are among the many skilled and caring individuals who have helped me deal with the aftermath of stroke.
Today I am no longer in a wheelchair, and I am getting on and off the potty quite well, thank you very much.
Those folks so instrumental in my first month as a stroke survivor were blessings. I thank God for them and the many individuals who have helped me since then.
And I am thankful to be here on this third anniversary.