Chuck Hofvander is a stroke survivor and fellow camper. He is writing short stories for this blog about those who come to camp. Not just survivors and care givers but staff, music therapists, etc. Attached is one of many that he has completed so far. These are cut and pasted from other sources and as a result Blogger does some automatic formatting I have no control over. Other than that, they are presented in their original form, and have been approved by those he is writing about.
David and Shirley Keyes Stroke date April 23, 2003
David didn’t exercise, he had high blood pressure, was overweight, and worked 10 to 12 hours a day.
Dave was a manager of project managers. He traveled all over the world but on a business trip to Austria he developed a head ache that lasted day and night (he would learn later it was a warning sign of stroke). He took aspirin, Tylenol, etc. but the head ache would not go away.
He returned home but the headache still would not go away. Some days passed when at 7:30 in the morning he came down stairs, collapsed and fell to the floor. He lay there until 8 PM when his brother came and called for an ambulance. Emergency personal administered CPR.
Dave was in bad shape. He and his wife Shirley were separated but when their son called she went to the hospital right away. Shirley was unaware he had a stroke until the ER doctors told her.
Dave was in a coma for four or five days the doctors questioned whether Dave would survive, as Shirley said “they would have to go day to day”. Dave did live but he survived with aphasia, partial use of right leg, and almost no use of his right arm.
How did the stroke affect Shirley? They had an active life together. She worked and had plans to further her career but then Dave made a decision to separate. But the stroke had change all that but now that Dave was in the hospital, needed months of rehab, and most importantly needed a loving companion throughout his life, he needed Shirley to guide him through all that.
Shirley put “all her efforts into taking care of David”. They used to run together and now she helped in doing exercises and walking. To say the least he was grateful he would lead his life differently. They replaced activities they used to do with other things David could do.
As David recovered he and Shirley switched roles. She went to work David does the housework. He makes the meals, does the laundry, and watches soap operas; not really.
When asked how has your life changed Shirley responds she has too much on her plate and at times she could just scream but then she thinks about things like Stroke Camp and that renews her batteries. She thinks about God and Jesus and that renews her faith and strength to go on. Shirley is thankful that David was spared so that God would touch his heart and is grateful David didn’t die on that operating table.
When asked about God in regards to Dave’s recovery he says he’s not sure.
Still with all those disabilities he rides a three wheel, motor cycle, still works, enjoys life, and most of all “still alive”.