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July 19th, 2020

11:22 AM

The Stroke Experience (One Year Later)

Later in this day, July 19, will be a year since I suffered a stroke. It wasn't massive, only acute but it affected my mind to the point my wife had to drive me to the hospital. I'm glad she did because who knows what would have happened if I were anywhere else like my job and it happened while I was miles away from home? According to my wife, I had suffered what were called mini strokes leading up to that day. I believe her. Leading up to that week, I had examples that these mini strokes were real. My eyesight began to blur and it was hard to write the results of an interview for a freelance writing assignment. Then the day happened where I couldn't read items from a grocery list, so off to the hospital we go!

When I was checked into the hospital, I had no idea how long I would stay. I had to answer questions at the front desk, fill out forms before I could actually be checked out by a nurse. My blood pressure was extremely high, which may have been the main reason why I suffered a stroke so I stayed overnight which turned out to be four days in total. (Nearly two weeks before, I was sent to the hospital by a nurse from a nearby clinic who in past visits saw my very high blood pressure and threatened to send me to the hospital if it didn't go down. My visit two weeks before the stroke and the number of medications prescribed to me may have quickened my condition, but this is only opinion)

I do have to say, the staff made it easy for me to rest as they spent the time drawing my blood, taking my blood pressure and feeding me during my stay. I also had the opportunity to watch lots of TV, just like my first visit two weeks prior. The doctor overlooking my case walked in the room and was very professional. He told me what procedures might be taken and new medications I would have. I do not have any of the medications prescribed to me during my first visit, and it shows. I had an MRI and MRS taken of my brain, endured countless blood draws by a needle in my stay, and on the day I was released, I was glad to have a solution how to ensure not to suffer any further strokes in the near future. The results you've seen on my social media feeds and on this blog. You notice reader, I lost nearly forty pounds, my mind felt open for the first time ever to express what I would have held back (based on my past posts on this blog during that time period last summer) and had plenty of time to rest, relax, offer thanks. I even recovered on time to spend time with the students at my job, and get back to a regular routine before the COVID.

Let me just say this; suffering a stroke is a big deal. While I spent time in the hospital I wondered what my father, the late great Charles L. Chatmon, Sr. thought during his last stay in the hospital. I could imagine the loneliness he felt, the anticipation of seeing his loved ones again, the uncertainty that hung over him as he felt he was close to his end. All of these thoughts entered my thinking during my stay in the hospital, but my condition was far less serious than his. 

When you listen to the doctors, the tried and trusted health professionals, it makes a difference in the improvement of your health. Had someone politicized strokes the same way they're doing with the COVID, I would have likely died or seriously not been the same man. My health is important, and if the doctors tell me to lose weight, eat less of the foods that caused my condition, it's my right not to follow their advice, but I shouldn't be surprised if I died as a result of my ignorance. This is why I don't understand the mentality of a populace that would just ignore basic facts for political reasons, but this is America. Folks, listen to your doctors. I was fortunate to have a good team around me to point out the reasons for my stroke and help me recover.

Prayer does a lot, it really does. I also tend to believe God places people in our lives with the medical knowledge and know-how to personally take care of us. If there's one thing I learned from this entire lesson, it's that we shouldn't take each day for granted. Mind you, I had just lived through a tough year after the passing of my father. Perhaps that played into my behavior and suffered the stroke. After years of living as my father's caretaker, it's up to me to be my own caretaker (with the help of my lovely wife) and live each day the best I can. The stroke and the experience that followed will always be a reminder of the result if I don't take care of myself. I trust you do the same reader, take care of yourself. Be safe.

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