Thursday, 26 May 2011

My Stroke Story by Gary Gray

Gary Gray with his family just prior to his stroke

My name is Gary Gray aka garydotgray. I live in Prince Edward Island, Canada. I have lived here all of my life except for a short tour of duty in the Canadian Armed Forces 1969 - 1975. I was married for 16 years and separated for the past 16. I have two great daughters Krista 28 and Karol 27. They both have families of their own now and working/living in Charlottetown. We see each other as often as we can.

I have one sister Irene who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I spent the month of February 2003 visiting her and her family. I flew from Charlottetown to Vancouver and back at 5 months post stroke and got along fine. I was able to complete the trip again in 2005 with a 6 week stay that time. We usually call each other about once a week ever since the stroke. (she now has a computer so communication is much easier using MSN messenger) She has been a great support.

My stroke date was August 10, 2002 when I had stopped at a local coffee shop to grab a coffee. It happened right at the counter. I suddenly could not speak. Then numbness in my left arm and shoulder. Somehow, somewhere during my life I had learned the symptoms of stroke and I knew when I was losing my voice and when my side went weak, it was happening to me. My voice came back long enough for me to wisper 'I'm having a stroke call 911' 

I blacked out and remained in various degrees of coma for three weeks. In going back and forth between hospitals, I had five ambulance rides and I don't remember any of them. I was aware sometimes of people being in my room but they had to be right in my face before I could deal with them.

I woke up on Sept 01, 02 around 6:30 pm, just as two nurses were getting me ready for the night. I remember wondering why they were taking my clothes off. I asked them what was going on, and one of them looked at me and said 'Gary, you're back'.

For the next 7 weeks in hospital I had speech, physical and occupational therapies. I made good progress and was released on Oct 18, 02. As I was not able to be on my own, my friends Chris and Magie Clarke became my care givers and I lived with them from October 02 until July 03. 

On August 01, 03 I moved into a one bedroom apartment back in Montague. It is close to stores, Doctor's Office, Hospital, Library and bank ( I can walk to them all). 

That same month I began going in to my old office job one day a week. In September 03 I drove for the first time post stroke and got along well. It took me a long time to trust my body and my mind again. I expercise every day, no execptions, to keep my Left side mobile. I spend one day a week with friends, doing service work. I have a few toys to assist me with independence such as a one handed can opener, a rocker knife, one handed portable vacuum and a wrist BP/P monitor.

I have also received visits and telephone calls of encouragement from stroke survivor buddies, friends and family during the period of time since my stroke. So I have learned to accept my life change, keep a good routine, set attainable short and long-term goals and keep a positive attitude.

Some of us stroke buddies are using MSN to stay in touch so if you want to add me to your buddy list my address is

 Thanks for reading my story.

You are invited to connect with me on my "My Life After Stroke" page on Facebook
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Smiles :o)

Gary Gray
Stroke Survivor since 2002

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