“How many of you here today want to grow old and spend your final days in a care home?” As expected, not a single hand was raised. The attendees at the Greenville chapter of the Christian Chamber of Commerce are not unlike all of us. We want life to meet us on our terms, and strokes are not in our life plan.
In late fall of 2016, I paid a lawyer $50.00 for thirty minutes of his time to get the answer to the following question. “Until late September 2016 my wife was a happy and healthy (we thought) first grade teacher, but a twice ruptured and three times filled frontal lobe aneurysm radically changed our world. If she survives and I am unable to care for her, how in the world do I afford long term care?”
Fortunately, rehab was the closest she got to long-term care. I brought her home in April of 2017 and was instructed not to leave her alone, to lock the doors, install door alarms, and hide the car keys. She surprised us all and did better than anyone expected. I work from home. Had that not been the case, I would have had to hire daytime help or quit working. Either option would have been financially devastating. A stroke doesn’t just affect the victim!
After only 25 days at home she was taken by ambulance back to ICU. She died 34 hours later. My wife has been gone for seventeen months. I have lost the love of my life. Her parents have lost their only daughter. Our son and daughter have lost their mother, and their little ones have lost their Nana. Life will never, never be the same for any of us. A stroke doesn’t just affect the victim!
Although none of us expected her aneurysm, we knew she was a stroke candidate because of her high blood pressure, family history, and work related stress. Other factors commonly attributed to stroke include the following: smoking, heart disease, diabetes, overweight, inactivity, age, and race. If you or someone you know has one or more of these risk factors, you have my permission to tell them you read a blog about an active and energetic schoolteacher whose life was cut short.
My name is Stan Means, and I am an unseen casualty of a stroke.
Elder Source Senior Ministries
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