The day of my stroke was very sad, but very telling about my family. As Robert puts it, "Somebody sneezes and you all rush together." Very true. Our family has had some serious challenges, made huge mistakes, had unbelievably happy times, and extreme sad times. But in every time, all of us have come together for support, tears, yellng, smiles, hugs, and even standing up for one another in the occasional sporting event fights.
So it is no surprise that the whole family was at the hospital that day. But it didn't stop that day. Despite the previous late night, most of my brothers were at the hospital early the next day, even beating Robert who was exhausted but still very early! Wendy went and got my baby, much to the reluctace and thankfulness of Roberts parents. My brother, Craig, flew in from Virginia, as much to be with my mom as me. All of my family kept a constant vigil in the ICU waiting room. After a few days of traveling to and from home, my mom moved in to a hotel near the hospital and was there every morning at 8 and left just after 5 when Robert arrived. When I was moved to Neuro Accute, somebody from the family stayed every night in my room just to help my nerves. I remember one day when the Physical Therapists had me walking down the hall. My mind was telling me where center was and so I was leaning clear to one side. It took 3 therapists nearly carrying me just to get me upright. I was determined to make it down the hall and all 4 of us were drenched in sweat after only a short distance. Robert was there and offering encouragement the whole way, which probably wasn't that far but to me seemed like miles. When I finally made it to the waiting room, many family members were there, just waiting for me. I can't say who exactly, because my eyes were still so blurry.
And when I moved to Rehab, my family was right there with me. My mom was with me every day. She read to me, braided my hair, went to therapy with me, took me shopping at the gift shop, took me on long walks all over that hospital, both inside and out, bought oil and massaged my legs, showered me, helped cleaned my incisions, suctioned my trache, and so much more that only a mother can do for her child. My sister in law came every week or so and did my nails, my other sister in law decorated my room with a heart attack. There were visits and days spent in therapy with me, and fasting and prayers. And those who didn't already know it, learned the sign language alphabet so we could "talk". I never doubted their love and their having my back. They were doing so much for me that it was a great motivator to me.
Of course, it didnt stop at the hospital walls. They stepped in to watch my kids, (the kids probably had more activities that Christmas than I could ever give them), clean my house, help finish my basement, take my kids to appointments, and give help whenever they were asked, and even when they weren't.
I can never remember or name all that they did for me and my little fam. I just remember the warm feeling of feeling loved. That I will never forget.
On a lighter note, one of my all time favorite stories happened when my brother, Jed, was staying the night in my room. My other brother, Josh had come to assist in giving me a blessing. On his way home, he called Jed from the side of the road. He said he was really sick and was throwing up. A cop had even come by and driven away when Josh was throwing up. So Josh was turning back to the hospital and wanted Jed to meet him at the ER. Jed left my room and went to meet Josh. When Jed got to the ER entrance, he saw Josh's car but no Josh. Then he saw Josh crawling on the ground. Jed had to go park the car while people from the ER got a wheelchair for Josh. The whole night, Jed had to go from my room to the ER and back. Each time he would get to my room he would be laughing at some new thing Josh was doing. As he put it, "You had a stroke and were really sick and you were happy and kind and a great patient. Josh had a stomache bug and he was yelling for medication, pilows, etc." Poor Josh, there are few things worse than stomache flu but he provided some much needed comic relief that night!!