Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Diminished expectations and strokes?

When a stroke happens, it usually takes time to realize allthat is lost.  You have to deal with your recovery first: therapy, doctor’s appointments, family pressures (there is alot of pressures for caregivers and the stroke survivors), and health issues.

At that time, you do not think about what your future holds other than getting better and short term financial pressures. What about disability insurance and social security? Do you have those resources?

When my stroke happened, I was dazed and confused. My wife had to deal with all of that “stuff:” Taking care of me, my son, financials, appointments, etc. She was – and is – a god send.

But, time passes. You get better every day. “Every day” is relative: I still cannot read and write very well, and I have moments of melancholy and depression. I struggle with my emotions sometimes, but that is understandable considering what happened to me.  

When you emerge from your stroke, it goes in phases. You emerge and you think that you are alive. You emerge and you are grateful to have family and friends for a support system. 

Then you think about work and if you can ever work again. What is my future? Everyone calls and offers support, but months go by. You do not want to be a victim, and you do not want to dwell on the stroke and the aftermath. You sometimes want to be alone and in seclusion.

Finally, when you are secure that you will not die, you start to think about life before and after. It seems ungrateful to think about material possessions. You should be happy to just to be alive. Life is gravy after a stroke. So, when you dream again, is it ungrateful to think that you might want a vacation, a new TV, or a car?  I've always wanted to have a 1961 Lincoln Continental with suicide doors. But I don't think that will happen now. What about retirement? Hmmmm.....

What happens emotionally when people raise money for you, and now I want “things?” Material things? I feel so guilty sometimes when I want things.  

I always assumed that I would have a great job. I always wanted to go to Europe. We wanted to travel. We wanted to make sure that our son had the opportunity to go to a great university.

Is this it? It seems that when you have a stroke, you do not think about things like that until you get “settled.” Do I have a “settle-forlife?” At 50, then 51, and now 52, will have a life of diminished expectations?

Even now, I have trouble reconciling my fate. Is that ungrateful? Is it expected? Is this the process of recovery and grieving? 

I just do not know. 

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