Last Saturday was the 1 year mark from when I got the call that my dad had a stroke. It’s been on my mind all week. Oddly, I had a neighbor come up to me in my driveway Friday after work and say she heard the news and asked if my dad was ok. I looked at her kind of puzzled and then realized she was talking about the stroke. She said she just heard about a month ago what had happened and was worried she hadn’t seen him around. As you can already tell I don’t converse with my neighbors very much, since she is a year late on the news. I reassured her he was ok, but very lucky.
He had a thrombotic, ischemic stroke. This means he had a blood clot in a large blood vessel at the stem of his brain. He worked through his stoke thinking it’d go away and not that he was having a stroke. He continued gardening and even went up to his cabin up in the Adirondacks for 3 days alone. When he had come home my mom forced him to go to the ER because she was worried. That’s when I got the call at work that he had a stroke and was being admitted to the hospital.
I left work and got to the hospital as fast I could. They were just starting to examine him as my parents were telling the doctor all of his symptoms he had over the past few days. I sat there examining the doctors gestures and facial expressions. His wide eyes and questions were alarming to me. He assured my dad that he most definitely had a stroke but didn’t go into details. He just said hold on, I’ll be right back. At this point, we are still in the ER so it’s just curtains separating you from the doctors in the hall way. My parents are talking but I’m tuned into what was being said on the other side of the curtain. The doctor was saying “This man should be dead, I don’t understand how he just walked in here. It’s a miracle” Their chatter on how surprised they were at his current state went on for about another minute but all that was going through my head was how close i had been to losing my dad. My heart dropped and my eyes started swelling. I composed myself before the waterfalls started.
The doctor came back and sat down. He showed us on my dads cat scan where the blood clot was at the bottom of his brain stem. They said it was 5 days since the initial stroke so not much can be done. Usually you want to get in there ASAP so they can dissolve the clot and make sure it wont happen again. He said is was a pretty massive stroke and that his outcome should have been paralyzed from the neck down or death. He couldn’t understand why my dad was able to walk himself into that ER like nothing had happened. The only thing the doctor said was that my dad literally worked his way through the stroke by continuing working and doing physical labor. That is what saved him. It was some kind of miracle.
Two weeks later, my dad had to walk his baby, my little sister down the aisle. It was a whirlwind of emotions those two weeks leading up to the wedding. How close we were to not having our father around for that important life event. Seeing how the stroke had affected my father. He’s more forgetful, gets confused easily, has some pain in one of his legs and a little droopy on one side of his face. The stroke had affected him but very minimally compared to the outcome they said he should have had.
About a month ago, I was walking around my parents property. Freaking out that I was 2 weeks away from turning 30! Where has the time gone? I feel like i was just 18 a few years ago. As I was walking around I noticed the pool liner was all faded from the sun and patched up from the many years of kids beating on it. The pavers that were so even and new are now mossy and cracked. The gazebo I’d spend hours in just hanging out is now very worn and brittle looking. Everything that I remember as so clean, bright and new is also aging. My parents are aging. My mom will be 60 next year and my dad is 60. Little things they do here and there makes me realize they are getting older and I need to be aware of that.
The stroke last fall made me realize first hand that my parents won’t be around forever. Coming that close to possibly losing my father made me realize how devastating that would be to my mom, sister and I. I have friends that still have all of their grandparents, so I certainly am not ready to lose one of my parents. It’s amazing to me how fast the years go by and how we take what time we do have left for granted.