How Am I Doing?

[Backstory: most people who know me personally know that I had a stroke the evening of March 9th and another the morning of March 15th. A real lightning bolt out of the clear blue sky for an otherwise healthy 43 year-old guy with no known risk factors. This post is about my recovery from those events. Fortunately, I have no permanent disabilities or disadvantages as a result.]

I get asked some form of, “so how are you doing?” at least a few times a week.

It’s a hard question to answer, and I’m always uncertain of the amount of information the questioner really wants to hear.

No one likes to come across as the kind of person who constantly whines about their health or some other subject. And I’m fairly cognizant of the fact that out of everyone I’ve ever met or heard of that has had a stroke, I am by far in the best shape of all of them (how often do I get to come out on that side of this type of comparison?). The only symptoms I have are fatigue and the occasional spell of slightly blurry vision. That’s really about it, and I’ll take all of that every day, if I have to, over the usual stroke symptoms.

Additionally, the answer is complicated because there are really two sides to this recovery: a physical dimension, and a mental/emotional one as well.

So I’m going to use this space to provide a bit of a longer version of exactly how I’m doing. It’s my blog, after all…

Physically, life has definitely changed for me. I mark the time in my days by the seven pills that are supposed to help me heal and prevent anything like this from happening again. 

I have turned into both the world’s worst and best sleeper, depending on the time of day. Sleep comes almost too easily in the late afternoon and into the evening, but I’m often awake in the middle of the night. 

Emotionally, I’ve had to figure out how to put myself back together again. It’s not been fun.

I constantly think about this series of events, and I have a great desire to understand what has happened from an existential perspective. I’m constantly trying to assign meaning to what happened and decipher lessons I’m supposed to learn.

In the past several weeks, most of the shock has worn off. I can feel my motivation to make sense of it and make changes as a result of what I’ve learned is wearing off. It makes me feel like this whole experience has been wasted.

But on the other hand, there are lessons that have to be lived to be learned, and I’m doing my best. I’ve internalized a few lessons, and I will share them with you now…

Don’t waste your life. You never know when the clock will stop ticking or when life will suddenly and massively change. I’ve realized that a) people aren’t joking when they say that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow, and b) it really does apply to me too.

What you put into your head has a lot to do with how you spend your time. I’m making more of an effort to learn more, do more, and be more.

They tell me that all of this is normal for a stroke patient, plus a little side order of depression. So it’s all actually quite fine, thank you. Thank you for reading.