In May 2004 I had a stroke. Now 13 and a half years later, or about 5000 days later, I have some questions to ask myself. I firmly believe that God wants us all to be healthy and he can, and does heal bodies and minds. However, I must be honest with myself and dare to state that complete healing from the effects of the stroke is probably not going to happen. Is this a lack of faith on my part – no, I don’t think it is.
Firstly, I am quite clear that the event was not planned or in any way came from God. For the first year I struggled with coming to terms with the fact that God could have prevented the stroke, but yet he didn’t.
Recovery was initially very swift and quite miraculous. From being completely paralysed down my right hand side and coming out of hospital in a wheelchair, within a few months I could walk, do most things I needed to do, and mostly gained control of my speech.
If you look at me now, you will be aware of some physical limitations but in fact I can do almost anything, though a little slowly. If you see me get out of a car, for example, it may appear that I am struggling, but I just need to take time to get my feet into the right position to put my weight on them. When I am tired, or stressed, I have problems speaking, but this is more to do with muscles in my throat than any limitation in my thinking.
On the plus side
What have I learned from what happened to me.
- I think that I am more understanding of others with physical limitations. Walking the streets of Aldershot I hadn’t before realised how many people walked with a limp, needed a stick, crutches or a wheelchair to make them mobile.
- I am more emotional than I used to be. I tear up easily on hearing the stories of other people, both real or fictional. I don’t consider this as a weakness but a strength. Empathy is good and I am glad to be more emotionally free.
Confounding the statistics
When I applied for an annuity as an income from my pension plans, I was amazed to learn that having had a stroke meant that statistically my life expectancy was reduced which resulted in the offer of a higher monthly pension! Although my expectation of a complete recovery is not very great, I have no problem in having faith for, and expecting a long life and I am counting on at least two more decades of healthy life. (I am now 73.)
Rejoice with me
The fact is that although I have some physical limitations I am healthy and have a sound mind. Yes, I have come to terms with certain weaknesses. Please do not feel sorry for me, or feel affronted because I am less than physically perfect, but rejoice with me that I can live a full and fulfilling life.