The stroke that made me

I hadn’t planned to mention this so early in my blog, but when I started to think about the things I was going to post about, I realized that this event has influenced how I’ve lived my life in the past 10 years so strongly, that I decided to just let you know now.

So here goes.

Ten years ago my husband Daddyken (as the kids sometimes call him) had a stroke, and a week after that I gave birth to our first Cherub, who I’ll refer to by her nickname – Panda. Daddyken was 32 years old, fit, never smoked or took drugs. He was initially diagnosed with just a ‘migraine’ and discharged. We returned to the hospital the next day, and it took them a few days and a barrage of tests to finally confirm he’d had a stroke.

But by the time they realized, the stroke had already run the gamut of Daddyken’s body. He was paralysed on his left side and they said he would never walk again.

Needless to say, it wasn’t the magical ‘first child’ bliss we had hoped and planned for. Luckily for family and friends we were in the same hospital, just different floors. They could visit us all in the one trip!

To put it very, very mildly, the past 10 years hasn’t been an easy one. We grieved, we despaired, we cried. I felt like we crawled and fought through the rough darkness each day, just making it through. And in the morning, realizing that we would have to do battle all over again.

Daddyken is extremely stubborn and slowly learnt to walk and use his left hand again. Cognitively and physically, he still isn’t 100% and won’t ever be.

What, how and when things were done was largely dictated by Daddyken’s condition. It’s only been in the past year that the intensity of my thoughts: If he didn’t have the stroke I’d/we’d be…’ or ‘If the doctors had diagnosed him earlier he’d/we’d be…’ has subsided and no longer torment me so mercilessly as they did in the early years.

But it hasn’t been totally grey clouds and rain either. There’s been sunshine, Panda’s smiles and snuggly cuddles, warm days when the bees buzzed dreamily in our ears and fireworks that lit up even the brightest day – like when Soccer Boy joined our family 5 years later. It took me a long, long time to learn to hang in there, even in the midst of pain, because rainbows will come out when you least expect it.

That’s all I’ll say about that for now. I definitely want to tell you more about how he, I, we and they dealt with it, but it’s a pretty draining topic and a part of me still relives those traumatic years if I dwell on it for too long.

Besides, that sunshine’s been hanging around for a while now and I’d like to bask in it : )

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