As I regained consciousness after the surgery, I noticed I had surgical staples on my stomach and head. I had no clue what had happened up until the doctor informed me that I’d had a stroke, which I did not take seriously or understand the severity of at the time.
I was awake and conscious so I figured that I would be going home that evening, but then it started to sink in that wouldn’t be the case considering I could not move my left leg or arm. I was also still on a liquid diet, administered through the NG tube, which was especially horrible since I am a foodie. All my food and medication was given to me through the NG tube at the hospital and I had to sip on water to keep myself hydrated. Eventually, I passed the swallowing test so the NG tube was taken out, and only then was I allowed to eat solids. My first goal was to be able to eat solids because my aunt had just arrived from England and had brought my favorite crisps: Walkers Cheese and Onion. After slowly working on ice chips and eventually a cookie, I was able to eat solids.
After the removal of the NG tube, I slowly munched on the crisps. At that point, I was a little more stable and was transferred to a wheel chair (by a hoist) and my mom took me for a tour of the hospital floor I was on. Once I got to the waiting room, which was filled with family and friends, an uncle asked me if I wanted anything. My request was a tall white hot chocolate mocha from Starbucks, which was my first proper drink after removal of the NG tube. A few days later, I was transferred to Toronto Rehab.
It was at Toronto Rehab where everything started to sink in; I was given a wheelchair and was showering and using the toilet with the help of people I was meeting for the first time. I had gone from being independent to dependent. The wheelchair was my mode of transportation at that point and right there I decided that on the day I got discharged, my goal would be to walk out of Toronto Rehab.
Another big thing that changed for me was that I had trouble getting my shoes on because of the lack of movement in my foot, which was bad since I am a sneaker head. I had to get a different pair of shoes that could accommodate my foot easily, however the selection was very limited. Another limitation I faced related to clothing; I had to start wearing bottoms that had an elastic band so I could pull them down and up easily when I used the washroom. Due to the lack of mobility, I had to wear adult diapers, which are very convenient by the way.
A lot of things changed after the stroke, I was only able to wear certain types of clothes and shoes due to my limitations. Over time I adjusted and adapted as I found ways to work with what was available. As I became stronger and more mobile, I became less dependent on the adult diapers as I initially was following the stroke. Currently, as I am on the road to recovery, I mainly function with my right hand and if I able to then I incorporate my left hand.