Home » Steve Patterson » Recent Articles:

Another Anniversary

March 21, 2009 Steve Patterson, Travel Comments Off on Another Anniversary

Regular readers know I suffered a major stroke on 2/1/08 and spent all of February, March and April 2008 in three hospitals recovering and receiving therapy.  A year ago today I transferred from hospital #2 to #3.  This was a big deal because except for a few times in therapy I had not been outdoors for very nearly two months.  My middle brother Randy drove up from Oklahoma City to drive me to Missouri Rehabilitation Center in Mt. Vernon, Missouri — a 4 hour trip made longer by flooding along the Meramec River.

Staff at St. Mary’s/SSM Rehab helped get me into his car for the trip.  It was scary because I couldn’t walk yet and we had no wheelchair with us for the journey.  I managed to get there without needing facilities.  It was Good Friday.

Once there I of course waited in the car as Randy went inside to tell them we had arrived.  The facility and grounds are quite attractive but the addmitting entrance (above) is less than appealing.

I spent five weeks there.  Turns out the director is named Steve Patterson.  I returned in August for a quick visit as I pased by on I-44 headng to Oklahoma. I was scared as I arrived and scared to leave and return home.  They taught me well so my recovery continues to progress.


Happy Birthday to Me!

February 28, 2009 Steve Patterson 12 Comments

Today is my 42nd birthday.

As most of you know, I came very close to not reaching 41 due to a stroke on 2/1/08. But I did survive and on February 25th last year I was moved from Saint Louis University Hospital to St. Mary’s/SSM Rehab.  That day I remember seeing one of my brothers and a cousin.  I don’t remember the ambulance ride to St. Mary’s at all.

A few days later my friends came to my room to help me celebrate my 41st birthday. I remember them being there.  I “borrowed” my own iPhone and called my friend Rich Kenney in Seattle after I learned he had flown in to see me.  He was pleasantly shocked to hear my voice.  At that point I did not yet grasp how long I had been out or how close to death I had come.  March 7th I will be flying to Seattle visit Rich for Spring Break – a well deserved getaway.

I hope to have many more birthdays.


A One-Year Stroke Survivor

February 2, 2009 Steve Patterson 8 Comments

One year ago today my friend Marcia Behrendt was worried about me, entered my loft and found me on the floor where I had been for approximately 15 hours. I’d had a hemorrhagic stroke – a blood vessel in the right side of my brain burst the afternoon of Friday, February 1, 2008.  At first I thought it was just a headache but within 10 minutes I was on the floor unable to move.  I was certain my meter was about to expire!

That Saturday morning (Feb 2nd) I was taken by ambulance to Saint Louis University Hospital.  My friends tell me the emergency room on the day of the big Mardi Grad parade is a rather unpleasant place.  Sorry for my bad timing guys.

Here is a time line of major events:

  • 2/1/2008 – stroke in late afternoon
  • 2/2/2008 – found in the morning and rushed to Hospital
  • 2/17/2008 – off the ventilator and no longer being sedated
  • 2/18/2008 – friends post about my status, the first post for the month.
  • 2/19/2008 – moved out of ICU to a regular room.
  • 2/25/2008 – left SLUH for St Mary’s Hospital/SSM Rehab.  My first memory is from this date.
  • 2/28/2008 – 41st Birthday
  • 3/7/2008 – I dictate a post to Margie Newman who brought her wireless card for me to use on my laptop.
  • 3/17/2008 – Feeding tube removed.
  • 3/21/2008 – Left St. Mary’s for Missouri Rehabilitation Center in Mt. Vernon Missouri – West of Springfield.  One of my brothers drove up from Oklahoma to pick me up and take me to hospital #3.
  • 3/24/2008 – Guest on KDHX via phone.
  • 4/4/2008 – My first visitor in Mt. Vernon.  We get permission to leave the hospital and go into town for real food.  We use a folding wheelchair at this point because I still cannot walk far and not without a therapist present.
  • 4/24/2008 – Physical therapist authorizes me to be “independent in my room.”  I’m now cleared to transfer to a wheelchair or walk within my hospital room without a tech, nurse or therapist present.  But to walk 50ft to meals someone else must be with me.
  • 4/25/2008 – My longest walk since the stroke — 500ft.
  • 4/30/2008 – Returned home.  Met friends for Ethiopian dinner at Meskerem.
  • 6/24/2008 – Purchased used Toyota Corolla after selling my beloved Honda Metropolitan scooter.
  • 6/27/2008 – Driving evaluation.
  • 7/2/2008 – Drove my car home by myself.  My first time driving alone.
  • 8/7/2008 – Drove to Oklahoma City to visit family.
  • 9/11/2008 – I took a shower standing up!
  • October 2008 – 10 visits of occupational & physical outpatient therapy at St. Louis Rehabilitation.  The first therapy since April ’08..
  • 11/4/2008 – walked 30ft without using a cane, still wearing leg brace.
  • 1/25/2009 – Exited shower using straight cane rather than quad cane.

The above list is by no means complete.  I’ve had, and continue to have, lots of firsts.  I put together a short video which goes back to February of 2008:


It has been an interesting ride.  I’m glad I stuck around.  It is quite the weird experience to think you are going to die.  Waking up from sedation a few weeks later and realize you lived is amazing.  I guess it was the joy of still being alive that gave me the strength to make it through the last 11 months.

Thank you to Marcia, Rich, Andrew, Dustin, Patty, Shelley, Sam, Lois, Dionna, Margie, Antonio, Randy  and so many others.   Thank you to my friend & neighbor Diane for help these last 9 months I’ve been home. Thank you to the many therapists along the journey.  I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone — thank you too.


Good Riddence 2008, Hello 2009

December 31, 2008 Site Info, Steve Patterson 4 Comments

2008 was not a good year, especially for me personally.  2008 did have some great moments though.

About two hours into2008 my father passed away.  He had taken ill in December 2007 and was in the hospital.  I was staying at my brother’s house in Oklahoma City when the call came from the hospital for us to get there – he had “coded.”  Coincidentally, this was the same hospital where this brother was born in December 1959.  My mom passed away 18 months before my Dad, in June 2006.   I’ve written posts saying goodbye to my mom & dad.

So now I start off 2008 at age 40 with no parents.

A week later friend of a friend needed a ride to Rhode Island to start a new teaching job.  She had just bought my friend’s used car but she was still learning to drive a stick and she wasn’t comfortable driving that distance in an automatic car much less a manual.  The drive up was great — we got to know each other on the road.  She is a black female in her 50s – a native of St Louis.  She is a Harvard PhD (undergrad too). She was a Hillery supporter, I was for Obama.  We left St Louis early in the morning of Monday the 14th.

When we arrived at our destination the following afternoon, I left her and her car at her new apartment in Bristol, R.I. (map), just south of Providence.  From that point I became a transit user.  I caught the bus a block from her new place that took me to downtown Providence (map).  After a night in Providence I took the train up to Boston.

Boston was a great experience.  It was cold out but the sidewalks & subway were teaming with people.

I flew back to St Louis arriving back at my place around 1:30am on the 18th – less than four days after leaving.  From the airport I was on the final MetroLink train.  But as we were heading back to the city the conductor announces the last stop would be Grand.  Realizing I did not want to be at the Grand stop after midnight, tired with luggage, I got off at the CWE stop and called a taxi to take me home.

The trip was certainly a good distraction from the loss of my father.

Back home I jumped right back into my life by attending a charrette in Old North St Louis on the 19th.  It was cold but I rode my scooter to get there – I didn’t own a car so my choices were few.

On Tuesday the 22nd I started the semester at Saint Louis University.

The following week started off normally enough — Gateway Mall press conference, Preservation Board meeting, Marine Villa neighborhood meeting watching residents elect new officers, and a hearing at City Hall on the morning of the 31st.  On the 24th I finally got an iPhone – the price had come down and AT&T now offered business accounts.

An Aunt of mine, wife of one of my Dad’s brothers, died in Texas on the 27th of January.

I had a real estate closing scheduled for the 31st at noon but there was a delay on the Buyer’s side — I had the Seller’s side of the deal.  That night it snowed.

The morning of Friday February 1st I snapped a few pictures of the snow from my balcony and from the roof.  I discussed having dinner with a friend.  I continued my email conversation with my friend Richard Kenney in Seattle about wanting to find a good spot at Bellefontaine Cemetery for when my time was up.  Then, around 5pm, it happened – a hemorrhagic stroke.  I’ll save the details for the anniversary of the stroke but basically I didn’t think I would survive — and I nearly did not.

I spent February 2nd – April 30th in three hospitals.  My recovery has been amazing.  I’m probably 65% at this point.  I’ll probably be at 95% in a year or so.

I started driving again in July and I bought my first tank of gas for my newly purchased car on July 14 — the day St Louis gas prices peaked.

In August I resumed work on my Masters degree at Saint Louis University.  I’m past the halfway point and I expect to graduate on December 11, 2009.

The economy took a nosedive in 2008. Foreclosures rose sharply as did the list of unemployed.

In November the country impressed me by electing Barack Obama to be President.  We’ll see how well he does.  Some are naturally upset by some of his choices for his cabinet.

Going into 2009 I’m optimistic about my own future and that of our city, state, country and world.  I’m in a better mindset than I was a year ago.

Thank you to all of you for your continued support in 2008.  Peace. – Steve


I Walked To Lunch Today

Walking downtown is one of the things I’ve missed since returning home after my three months in the hospital following my stroke on Feb 1st.  The electric wheelchair is great but there is just something different about getting somewhere only using your own power.  Walking & bicycling are the two ways to enjoy this great feeling and up to now both had been taken away from me.

I’d been practicing walking around the block in the evenings but today I walked the farthest I have since my stroke, roughly 4/10ths of a mile to a luncheon at Lucas Park Grille.

That fraction under a half mile took me 40 minutes.  Ditto for the walk back. Getting back my urban life of walking, bicycling and scooting is a great motivator.    Despite the heat and the slowness of my pace it felt great to walk to a destination.  Next time perhaps Bridge & Tunnel Pizza at Tucker?  After that dinner at Mosaic or Kitchen K, both at 10th & Washington Ave.