Just Say "NO"
So, my wife survived multiple strokes on both sides of her brain. The chances of survival in such instances is very poor- but she survived. However, the person she was after the strokes
was vastly different from the person she was before the strokes. Much of her 'memory bank' had been erased or deleted. She was nearly unintelligible when she tried to speak. She couldn't swallow food,
and she was virtually paralyzed on one side, with severely compromised physical abilities on the other side. But worst of all, Nancy had lost the ability to think and reason.
She was discharged from the hospital where she had been under acute care, and transferred to a hospital specializing in rehabilitation. After a few months, they did a series of examinations
on her and told me that she would never be able to think and reason for herself ever again. One of the doctors told me, for example, that if the house we live in caught fire and the front door was blocked
with flames, Nancy would perish because she couldn't think to go to the back door instead.
The doctors at the rehab hospital advised me to put my wife into a nursing care facility and let her watch television for the rest of her life. At the time, Nancy was 46! I was furious
with those doctors. I virtually screamed at them, telling them that they had no business saying such things because no doctor could make such a statement with the certainty of being correct. No one wants
false hope, but there isn't anyone who has the right to take away your real hope. I told them they had no idea of how hard Nancy was willing to work to overcome her new limitations. I told them they had
no idea of how dedicated I was to helping her recover whatever she could.
I just said, "NO. You're not going to poke us into a syrup jar!"
I cut back my practice. I took courses on how people learn. I began to develop a plan of treatment, using computer programs, to retrain her brain to think and reason. All of this has
worked out quite well. Today, my wife still has some severe limitations, but as you will see as you read through this book, we live a great life, far removed from the nursing home to which they would have
had me send her. Our lives are rich and full of wonderful experiences.
I beg of you- Please do not let anyone else tell you what you can or cannot do. No one knows- not your family, not your friends, not your doctors. The only way you will know is by trying.
Play the cards you have been dealt to win, as they are likely to be the only cards you'll get. Don't waste your chances, and let yourself learn to expect success.
Here's a good "for instance" of what I mean. It is a great example of not letting anyone poke you into a little syrup bottle. It is also a great example o why you must not
let others, particularly those who are not familiar with your needs or abilities, make decisions regarding what you can and cannot do:
A few years ago, we took our very first cruise, the Dawn Princess to Alaska. It was a wonderful cruise of 7 days, but we wanted to see the luscious countryside as well as the ocean.
Princess had set up a number of pre and post cruise adventures, and I decided Nancy and I would fly to Fairbanks a week or so before the sailing, then planned for us to amble down the state by train, making
our way south to Anchorage, where the cruise would begin. There seemed to be plenty of support for us, and the trip certainly did not appear to be more than we could handle. Princess has fantastic equipment
for those of us in wheelchairs, and has, overall, a great attitude toward helping you out. The really try.