Now, hopefully, you know what having a stroke is REALLY like. It is the worst experience in your life. I cannot empathize enough how frightening it is what you go through. Your lifestyle is totally changed forever; in a flash your family is devastated! If you do not have long-term disability insurance your family is immediately thrown into financial chaos. Your children no longer have a normal child life. Forget about having fun family events. Annual vacations, spontaneous things like playing games with your kids, attending ball games and going out with the family for fast food on Friday nights, etc, will stop. All enjoyable family events will immediately be forever cancelled. Forget about things like going to the bathroom in private. You lose every shred of humility you ever had. There are so many more nightmares to talk about. Most of what I should warn you about is too personal and private! You REALLY do not want to know.
My wife went through it ALL with me. My company flew her to France and put her in my hotel for over two weeks. She would visit me in the hospital everyday getting there around 8 am every morning and staying in the hospital with me each day until after 8 pm each night. Support is absolutely essential after a loved one has a stroke.
Something else I should tell you is that stroke does not just affect you. Besides your spouse and kids your extended family is also affected; your brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, mothers, fathers, in-laws and their families all will be affected. Oh, and you think you have good friends? At least 99% of stroke survivors have told me that their friends have stopped coming around. Many will visit you right after the stroke, while you are in the hospital, but be prepared to lose every friend from coming around. Your friends will not suddenly stop liking you but chances are VERY good that not one will EVER hang out with you again! It is amazing how quickly your friends will ALL disappear.
Be prepared for an uncontrollable emotional rollercoaster, too. Your ability to control laughter or crying at inappropriate times will be lost. Seriously, it is called, emotional lability. Emotional lability is totally frustrating and can be very embarrassing. You will learn to hate the powerful lack of control. Also, severe depression is common and may creep in when you least need this burden. Depression for stroke survivors can be very dark and can rule every aspect of your life. You cannot realize how painful depression is unless you have experienced it.
Bottom line is that having a stroke is permanent. You cannot reverse the effects of stroke. You must learn to live with the devastating disabilities that it causes. I apologize for such a lengthy blog but this was my reality. Millions of people go through similar nightmares. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke happens to about 780,000 people per year. About 5,800,000 stroke survivors are alive today.
Stroke cannot be prevented but you can prevent the risk of it. High blood pressure is the most obvious sign. Eating a diet that is high in salt can cause the high blood pressure. Lack of exercise and leading a dormant lifestyle can lead to being overweight and having high blood pressure, too. Cigarette smoking and excessive drinking of alcohol also increases the risk of stroke.