Let me give you a little background before I start. To relax, I do counted cross stitch. However, while I'm holding the hoop, my left hand will 'go numb' for 3 - 5 minutes, then it's okay again. I was employed by an office supply / office furniture store as an office cubicle / office furniture installer. On December 26, 1994, I had quadruple coronary bypass graft. FAST FORWARD to the day my life 'was changed'.
I only worked four hours, at my job, so my wife Peggy and I had lunch together. I came home and I took a nap. I woke up at 2:30 PM with the feeling I had to vomit. I did that and I went back to bed. At 3:45 PM, I had that 'vomiting urge' again, but I only had the 'dry heaves'. While sitting on the edge of the tub, my left hand went numb. (I had that feeling before, it will go away). Well, 30 minutes later, it's STILL NUMB. As I was questioning what was wrong, BAM !! I'm on the bathroom floor, entire left side COMPLETELY NUMB. My daughter Kelly asked if I was okay and I DIDN'T really know, but I knew SOMETHING was wrong. Peggy arrived home, called the doctor who said "I don't want to see him, go right to the ER, they will be waiting for you".
I arrived at hospital (8-block drive) and I was immediately rushed into ER and a 'battery of tests' were performed. It was determined that I was a 'prime candidate' for tPA. Side effects - could cause bleeding. I'm already on blood thinners - NO THANKS !!
I spent 11 days in hospital, receiving physical, occupational and recreational therapies. I was informed that they DID NOT find the cause of my stroke. Before I was released from the hospital. They made sure that I could manage pretty much on my own - including having a nurse watch me get dressed, from NO clothes to completely dressed. It took me about 25 minutes but I was dressed.
Because I could no longer do my job, I had to 'find' a new one. I contacted the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, who gave me aptitude tests and a career placement survey, among other things. It was determined that I might enjoy a job in the food service industry. They helped me to find a community college who 'offered' a culinary course. I applied, was accepted, and after 16 months, graduated with a GPA of 3.82. It was a hard struggle. I had to take tests two or three times, but I succeeded.
I have worked in a Retirement Community, a home for Dementia patients and a Resort and Conference Center. However, due to a fall on the ice, which destroyed my right rotator cuff, I am now on disability. I am the Corresponding Secretary of a local Chef's Association, where I am also the Newsletter Editor. Currently, I am employed part-time at a local Minor League baseball stadium as a prep cook. It's anywhere from 5 to 25 hours a week, depending if the team is home or away.
Each Fall, for the past 11 years, I have participated in the American Heart Walk. It's a 5-mile course, but since my stroke, I have only been able to walk the one-mile course. I enjoy doing this and I am now the team captain of my team: STOMP OUT STROKE . . . for Life! ! !
I have no idea what the future holds BUT I am sure of one thing -- I know Who holds the future. Yes, my faith IS what has 'brought me' through this experience. And, I do appreciate what He has done in my life.