First of all, I just wanted to say that regardless of the title I’m not really a man of religion. I believe in something but I just don’t know what. That said, I don’t think that you necessarily need to be a religious person to feel blessed. But after the events of the last couple of months (or 20 years for that matter) I truly and honestly do.
The evening of September 15th is a night that I’ll never forget even though some portions of it I have no recollection of. The day itself was hot and while I was working on the brakes of my Ford F-150. At one point while working on the front brakes I was straining to loosen up a bolt that was holding on the brake calipers. I had a bit of a fall and after collecting myself I was hunched over the front end of my truck. My neighbor Debbie asked if I was okay and being the stubborn person that I am I said I was fine. I wasn’t.
After being helped up onto the front porch I was told to have a seat on one of the chairs and I sat down. My daughter Tiffany came outside and suddenly I had the worst, unimaginable headache come from out of nowhere. It was like I was stabbed in the brain with an ice-pick just over my left ear. After a few moments I decided to go lay down in my bed… my daughter helping me to get there. As I rested, I started feeling even more odd. I had weakness extend down my entire left side. Something wasn’t right. Shortly after, the left side of my face started to feel weird. Numbness, tingling and it felt like my face was drooping. I called my daughter into my room and asked her if my face looked right. It didn’t… and she immediately called 9-1-1.
I was taken to the nearest hospital and underwent a bunch of tests… bloodwork, ultrasounds, C.T Scans, and M.R.I’s. Unfortunately, at this time even though everything presented itself as a stroke they had found nothing conclusive. I would spend 6 days in Greater Niagara General Hospital before getting transferred from Niagara Falls to Hamilton General Hospital. It was then that I was informed after more testing that I had suffered a stroke that originated on my brainstem. The cause was lesions on my brainstem. The cause of the lesions remains a bit of a mystery as the reasons for them are numerous. In all likelihood… infection in my case.
I know that I was lucky with this stroke as it was minor in nature. But it still caused many problems. Paralysis down the left side, slurred speech, stuttering, loss of short-term memory and loss of words. I shake my head thinking if this was minor than what is mild or severe stroke like? I shudder to think. Anyways, since then I’ve undergone all sorts of therapy to get me back to where I want to be. I just want to golf again and have a sense of normalcy again. Speech therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy to name a few. There have been ups and downs with my recovery. I remember how great it was to get out of bed for the first time to work with the physiotherapist. I couldn’t go 3 steps but then it became 5, 10 and eventually with the use of a walker I was able to walk down the hallway. After more hard work I was able to start using my left arm more and eventually I was able to start going up and down stairs. All of this while being in the hospital still. But then I graduated again.. being allowed to walk the hospital floor with assistance.
I would be discharged eventually and would continue all of the therapy at home. With assistance from my wife I would go for walks with the walker gradually building up my endurance and strength. It took a while but I was able to lose the walker and for the first time I was able to walk my dog again. It felt like such a success. I was happy… excited.
Then it happened. Dayna (my physiotherapist) and I were talking and I asked her about returning to the gym. She gave me her blessings and recommended it. Since then I’ve been back to the gym commencing a new regimen seemingly from the beginning all over again. I never realized until now how much strength I lost from atrophy. I asked about golf half jokingly. I was so happy when she said that golfing would be good for me and recommended that as well. First, in the backyard or driving range. Then 9-holes and finally 18- holes. While I still haven’t been on a golf course or driving range since September I have taken swings and it feels so good. I can’t even express it in words how good it feels.
Unfortunately, since the stroke and all of my recovery efforts I made a boneheaded mistake. I was writing a blog entry in my room. As I was sitting on my bed I wanted to look out the window while I wrote. Our apartment is heated with baseboard heaters and as I was typing I had no idea that my right foot was resting on the baseboard heater. Because of poor circulation in my feet and legs (diabetic peripheral neuropathy) I had no idea that my feet were in harm’s way. Until my foot blistered from burns. The result. A long and tough road similar to 2014 when I developed gangrene and nearly lost my leg. I’m wearing an “offloader” on my right foot which prevents weight from placing pressure onto the wound.
Nothing will hold me down from golf. Nor will this stop me from attending the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show. I’m simply too excited to go. Not to mention that even with a bit of a wound I’m making swings like today as the snow flies.
Folks, always remember to #FightAndGrind and know what the acronym F.A.S.T. means. you could save a life. I am truly blessed that my daughter did.
Until The Next Tee!!