Thursday, June 25, 2015

Turning Point

There are moments in life that represent a turning point. The start of a new chapter. Last weekend was one of those for me. I got a call on Saturday morning from my Mom. She had taken my Dad to Strathroy hospital with signs of a stroke. The words tumbled out of her mouth and into my head but they didn't seem real. We had just been together three days earlier to celebrate his 71st birthday at Montana's. How could he be having a stroke?

Devin and I had been on our way to visit my Grammie, so we detoured and headed for Strathroy. Although I was upset, I was glad that we could be there as a support to both Mom & Dad while things unfolded.

When we walked into the hospital, Dad was being checked out by a doctor. Although he didn't seem to be that bad, they had decided to send him to University Hospital to be assessed by the stroke team. Initially he had minimally impaired speech and tingling in his right arm. However, his symptoms progressed as the day wore on.

The next few days were a bit of a blur and definitely surreal. When you're not familiar with medical terminology or the cause/effect of strokes, the information can be confusing and overwhelming. However, hospital staff were optimistic for his recovery and were so patient with him and us.

It is difficult to see someone that has always been a strong and unshakeable figure in your life so vulnerable. Although he was fully aware of what we were saying and what he wanted to say, it was very difficult for him to form the words and get them out. I tried to remain positive and optimistic while I was with him but it was one of the scariest things I've experienced. I knew the doctors, nurses and therapists were saying that he would get full function back, but I couldn't help but wonder if that was true. What if he didn't improve and this was his new normal?

On Thursday he was transferred to Parkwood Hospital - an excellent facility for rehabilitation. Since then we have seen continual improvement with both his mobility and his speech. The therapists are relentless with a full day of activity, and when they're done, my Mom is working with him. I have been so encouraged by his determination and his progress this week.

On Tuesday night I was telling him how proud I was of his hard work and that I could see it was paying off. He smiled and started to tell me that he had tied his own shoes that morning, but he couldn't finish the sentence. He started to cry and so did I. What a wonderful accomplishment only 10 days after the stroke!

There have been many teary moments since last Saturday but this experience has only brought my family closer together and proven to me that they are my number one support. 

Thanks to all of you for your prayers, encouragement and offers of help.

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