February, 2015, I heard something in my head, ringing ears/seeing stars, when I heard myself slur…I knew…stroke.
Luckily, I was at a soccer game with an ambulance that could take me immediately to a hospital.
In the ER, I recall thinking, if this is it..so be it, was suprised at how cavalier the experience was – no pain at all.
As with many brain injuries the crying started the next day, totally unsolicitated, nothing to do with depression, just the emotional center of the brain not
functioning well. It was surreal, reading all the messages and prayers – like they were for someone else.
‘You look fine’, I hear this continually. Something to be said about hidden disabilities.
I wake up thinking everything works, but, as I like to say ‘still a few screws loose’.
Depending on my fatigue, walking, talking, sleeping, thinking are all different, like explaining my childhood in small-town Nebraska, it’s hard to explain if you have not experienced it.
I’ve always been blessed, my life has been great – definitely a lemonade from lemons experience. It was the opportunity for a new start – forced to change priorities and outlook.
Brain injury clubhouse? Sounds like a place I’d want to avoid, right?
Well, trust me, having a stroke or TBI is ridiculously common.
BIND, like rehab, is a great place to meet those with common life events.
I really enjoy the camaraderie, discussing stroke stories, maladies/solutions, helping others in a way bigger than myself.
The future and need of this type of organization and service will continue to grow.
Having a stroke definitely has not made me feel unique, I am constantly noticing a strange gait, stiff arm, what I call one’s ‘zombie-walk’. Very much like noticing all the strollers when you have a newborn, my eyes were opened to how strokes are prevalent.
For some, a stroke is indeed the end, for me, just a new beginning/opportunity.
Sure, it’s not fun, but, fortunately, it’s often funny.
As with every challenge/disaster/problem…it can always be worse!
~ Chris Bancroft, Survivor, Husband, Father, BIND Member