I wanna talk about the stress and strains caused by stroke – and its effects on relationships. And for this, I’m going to be completely honest while trying not to sound self-pitying. A tall order judging by the way I feel just now.
The thing is, everybody sees my situation, looks at my beautiful wife and possibly thinks, “It’s ok for them!!” Well, let me tell you; it’s been hell. I’ve screamed and shaken like an epileptic – a common effect of stroke if you get upset. Jade and I have had to sleep in separate beds so I can get my 5 hours undisturbed sleep, which I desperately need, as I work and push myself so hard.
Because of my speech in the early days and sometimes even now when I talk to Jade, there’s no tone in my voice so I sound like I’m moaning all the time, even if I’m not!! As a result, a lot of situations end up in arguments and, slowly but surely, it chips away at your partner. It’s sheer hell!!
In my case, I’m over the worst now but I’ve left Jade wondering if I’m her man anymore – or am I a totally different man to the one she fell in love with?
Well it’s like this: I don’t think you can walk away from a stroke without in some way changing the person you used to be when you may have been carefree, enjoying life and never really worrying….But the shock of losing your independence or ability to choose to move a limb or not is the scariest thing in the world. BELIEVE me!!
Luckily enough, I’ve had a lot of help and support from both mine and Jade’s family and friends. And I’ve had the will to fight to recover, for which I’ve had to be an obsessive, annoying, pain-in-the-arse guy to achieve!
This is why I have to say this to Jade:
“My wonderful, beautiful Jade, I am sorry for all the pain of these years since locked-in syndrome devastated our lives, sorry for not being able to give you the attention I should have done, or listening to you as much as you deserved. For not being calm instead of snapping as I normally did through the sheer frustration of not being a man; for not bringing the money in, for relying on my wife to pay the rent. For not being able to forget about the movement I lost in my arm instead of stroking the hair over your ears.
I am sorry for everything, Jade. I’ve had to be in survival mode ever since I woke up from my coma.
I must get back to my wife!
I must get back home for her!
I must get walking!
I must get strong!
I must fix things!
I must stop thinking “I MUST!”
It’s become an obsession, see? And now I’m almost there, I smell it!
It takes a long time to be happy with yourself after a life-changing event like stroke, but I feel I’m getting there at last.
I hope you can forgive me, Jade. Thank you for sharing my journey and for helping get back on my feet. You are an amazing woman!”