A Sudden Change of Life (1)
It is now just over a month and a half since that scary morning. I now know that the stroke, though mild, injured a nerve behind my eyes. I wore a pirate patch for three weeks and now – thanks to a marvelous eye doctor – I have a prism on the right lens of my glasses that enables me to be mostly free of the vision problem while the nerve heals.
There is good news here, too. I was home when the stroke happened.
In addition, Spokane has excellent health care. My doctor thinks the injury was stress related. Since my stay in the hospital, I have managed to figure out the causes of the stress and have become free of them.
I know it’s only been six weeks since the stroke and others have suffered much worse and much longer than me, but I would like to share with you some of what I have learned from my experience so far.
First, to reach out to others who are also struggling. While in the hospital, I phoned one of my good friends, who has had problems with her heart for two years. She, in turn, sent me a wonderful book that has encouraged and inspired me – “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse,” by Charlie Mackesy. There is a lot of wisdom in that book.
My friend consoles me and gives me great advice, like, “Let your heart loose and reach out to others in their scary, taxing time.”
Second, to reach out to others and ask for help as needed. Mackesy defines bravery as the freedom to ask for help. I have asked for prayers, for rides (I am unable to drive yet), and for hugs (even if they are virtual). I save affirmative voice mails and listen to them when I need some extra emotional help (the same with rereading Get Well cards). Asking for help, Mackesy writes, is not giving up but refusing to give up.
Third, gratitude. I am grateful that I had the stroke because I believe it saved me from something worse because of the stress mentioned above. I read an interview of the actor, Michael J. Fox, who struggles with Parkinson’s disease, in which he said he focuses on what he has rather than on what he doesn’t have.
Great advice! It’s the “glass half full, half empty” image. I find I am more aware of even the small blessings in my life, and I thank God for them. Gratitude leads to optimism to hope and to peace of mind.
This is a new experience for me. I have had no real serious illness before. There will be more insights from the stroke. Already, I have a new prayer: for Patience, and a lot of it!
Feel free to share your own insights.