My Stroke Experience
I am a stroke survivor and have been reading Stroke Connection since 2009, when I had a stroke at 57. It has given me a renewed attitude toward living with a stroke; so much in fact that I no longer take speaking for granted. After my stroke I was determined to start writing again. My journey was a long one and I still have lingering symptoms Rather than writing and submitting a piece of prose, I would like to share my experience of having a stroke in a poem entitled Stroke.
Never imagined this would happen to me.
You stole into the night
While I was gazing up at the waxing moon,
You melted darkness like a pall over luminescence
Deeply scorching my brain; an internal
Sanguine geyser spurting… spurting;
Shaping my destiny…
Baffling was blindness which draped my lids;
A shadowy curtain frightfully inching over eyes
— wide opened
And, the man in the Moon, the
Olivine Basalt rock with smiling face withdrew
But not before my mind’s eye caught
His vacant befuddled OMG expression
Staring down from the Heavens,
Observing my impending curtain call….
I staggered from window to easy chair
Seizing ridged Sanitex patterns as if Braille
To guide my numb finger tips, feeling the way;
My toes, clumsily thumping door moldings,
An inebriated gait, one would say
As I bounced wall to wall in the dark —
Skewed, was my mouth trying to utter.
Words drooled and tumbled
A jumbled gobbledygook —
Was I making sense?
No, not at all!
Stroke! You almost silenced the poet,
The mother, aunt, friend, person;
Sticking tongue to the roof of head,
Slapping brain against skull until it bled a frank red.
Impaired and weak were left limbs, speech, and sight.
Incoherent, was I, as words Willy-nilly spilled
From this drooping mouth, yet my inner
Vision could see letters standing upright.
Ears, heard the alphabet recited correctly,
An auditory mirage — if you will —
In a hospital I conversed
In gibberish while blind as a bat
Terrified yet perceptive
Realizing I had a stroke;
Angry by this hostile takeover inside my head—
This killer of animate soul!
Physicians peered while commanding
Close eyes… raise arms… purse lips then blow.
Blow! Laughter burst from my inner brain lash.
Pseudobulbar affect, doctors agreed.
I was desperate to articulate, to make them understand
They were wrong!
My outbursts were merely triggered by memory
Of Lauren Bacall telling Bogie to put his lips together and...
Well, if you enjoy classic movies,
The ones shown on TCM television, you would know —
Unable to speak, my thoughts played
like an old movie reel.
Unrelenting was hilarity
and in a suspenseful Hitchcockian way,
My speech restored… the lens of my eyes focused…
My vision miraculously returned,
not one hundred percent, I may add.
Residual weakness persisted in my left arm and leg,
It was a badge of an internal battle I had fought.
My sure smile was replaced with a
Lopsided left lip and my left eye sagged.
And, peculiar was my new childlike disposition;
Another discernible scar allowing the world to know
I almost lost my precious life!
I was a stroke survivor.
Having this new affliction taught me
to have a sense of humor,
To joke about it,
whenever catching friends and strangers
Rudely gawking at my uneven face —
Half mask…half muse…I would say.
Unlike so many who had been paralyzed,
I was grateful to be given another chance to
Contemplate the Waxing moon,
To admire the cheery Olivine face, so incandescent.
I was permitted to ponder the meaning
of having this stroke,
To stand up to the stealer of life
who almost extinguished my poetic soul —
Stroke, who sent me hurling at Grim Reaper’s door,
So thankful he was not at home
to escort me on the ship of no return —
Stroke, who stole into the night
You did not prove to be my end but a fresh beginning;
Allowing my heart to write Poetry and one more verse
For the Olivine man in the moon who, like a good friend,
Illuminated unexpected good fortune for me to see
As he winked across the sky, not turning away;
seeming quite content,
Pleased I was still alive to bask in his beams — and while
Lulling me in his shadow —
had caught me with pen in hand
As I slumbered;
Allowing me to have sweet moon dreams once again
This information is provided as a resource to our readers. The tips, products or resources listed or linked to have not been reviewed or endorsed by the American Stroke Association.