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No Longer Scared

May 1, 2009 Steve Patterson 1 Comment

One year ago today I was very scared.  It was my first day waking up at home, in my own bed, alone,  following three months of hospitalization after a massive hemorrhagic stroke on 2/1/08.

I had become used to someone coming in with medicines, serving me meals and even helping me with toileting and showering.  I’d had a button to press if I needed anything.   But a year ago today I was now on my own to care for myself.  Like I said, scary.

Starting that morning and for the last year my morning routine has been the same: unlock front door and take my morning pills (4).  Yes, I unlocked the door to my loft each and every day for the last year. I had a fear I’d fall or have another stroke so I kept the door unlocked during the day ‘just in case.’ Only once was this an issue — I had a real estate agent and his client come into my place.  I was surprised and explained that I’d be the first to know if I were selling my own loft.  “But the key worked!”  With the door unlocked he thought the key worked.  They were looking for my unit number in the adjacent building in my condo association.

Early on I had a few modifications done in my place: grab bars on the toilets and a hand shower + tub bench in the master bathroom.  It helped that my loft is very open with few interior doors.

While I lived alone I was never without help.  I have good friends both down the hall and throughout the St. Louis area that have, and continue to provide, greatly appreciated assistance.  Over the course of the last year the level and type of assistance has changed.  It was mid-July 2008 before I got a car and started driving so I leaned on friend’s for rides to the office, doctor and to grocery stores.  Now it is hanging pictures and assembling furniture.

I started writing this post a month ago or so but recently I got a reminder.  Last Sunday morning a cousin was awoken just before 4am by her husband — he couldn’t move his left arm.  While sleeping he had a stroke.  The ambulance got him to the hospital quickly so the damage was less severe than with me.  But I’m now a sort of mentor & coach for both of them about what to expect in therapy and when he returns to their suburban Chicago townhouse.  It is bringing up the difficulty I’ve faced for the last 15 months since the stroke.

I don’t want any pity.  I’ve learned to adapt and overcome my physical issues. I’m already telling my cousin not to do too much for her husband — he must learn to do for himself.  If you live alone make sure you have several people you talk with on a daily basis.  Make sure more than one of those has a key or that they all know who to contact with a key.

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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Vicki Mabrey says:

    Haven’t been to your site in a while, but I am so glad to have come across this entry. Wonderful to see you’re back and chronicling the city!


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