Six years earlier the doctors had told my wife(Theresa) she had 18 months to live, she was diagnosed Stage 4 cancer. She is now is full remission. A women like her mother, she never drank and never smoked.
On June 3, 2014 I had a brain stem stroke(PONS)
I have always told my daughters “Men are idiots”, and apparently I have proven it, here is an example:
5:00 Monday evening my arm start twitching and doesn’t stop.
7:00 Monday arm still twitching, my wife(beautiful, wonderful, courageous and wise) Tessie, says “Let me take you to the hospital”, of course like any normal “man” I say “Nah it no big deal”
11:00 PM Monday. I take a conference call and notice my left arm and leg are a little numb, obviously I take an aspirin and go back to bed.
5:00 AM Tuesday I plan to catch flight , my wife intervenes and I stay home.
7:00 AM Tuesday I take another conference call, by now I am limping and can’t hold a cup of coffee in my left hand.
8:00 AM Tuesday My wife now says we are going to the hospital.
8:30 AM Tuesday in hospital I am informed I had a Pons (Brain Stem Stroke) I can now no longer move my left leg or arm and have pretty slurry speech. As a bonus the doctors tell me if I had come in within 5 hours of the first symptom , they may have been able to help, but now it too late.
11:00 PM Thursday I pass out in a diabetic coma in front of my wife and daughter(Victoria), after frantic activity I end up in the ICU, back to square one.
Many illnesses happen in slow motion, this episode of unconsciousness(coma) came very suddenly, if it were not for Tessie’s calmness , control , faith in God and knowledge I am sure I would not be here.
The nurse were unsure what to do , apparently they had given me an extra dose of insulin and very slow to respond.
My wife Theresa(Tessie) with Victoria’s help literally had to keep me alert and practically drag me to the ICU over the nurses objections. You know its bad when the nurses are asking you wife for the “Power of Attorney”, which of course she had already given them, and they had lost it.
…..25 days later (Diabetics Coma, ICU, Rehabilitation, multiple brain scans , seizure scans, seizures, diarrhea) I am released on the condition I use a walker. Since then I have graduated to a cane,.
I am very lucky I am left with hemiparesis(weakness left side) and double vision(right side)
For 25 days …….. , 25 DAYS …….. my wife(Theresa) and my entire family never left my side(day of night):
Theresa(Wife, Soul Mate, My everything), Christina(Daughter #1, The Rock). Victoria(Daughter #2, Brainiac ),Julia(Grandaughter #1, Angel sent from heaven),Brandon(Son in Law),Jack (Grandson #1),Jacob(Grandson #2)
Tessie and our family at St Mary’s in earlier times.
As a man, husband, father and grandfather I have tried to be up to the tasks in providing for my family, sometimes meeting them many times falling short, in my eyes.
My wife led a family effort that as I write about it and remember it I am overwhelmed and tearful. I wish I could say I deserve this , but I can’t I was not good enough.
The reality is that we grow older we grow wiser, not through knowledge alone, but through experience.
This experience has given me the opportunity to eliminate any remnants of ego and permanently instilled a sense of humility. Countless time during my 25 day stay, my family(ALL OF THEM) helped my dress, eat , go to the bathroom(with diarrhea).
As I said one point I went into a coma , low insulin and needed to receive emergency treatment and go to the ICU, it was one many very traumatic experiences and my wife Tessie never faltered, kept her faith and strength and brought me back.
Epilogue: At one point I had to prove my cognitive skills were still intact, being that my wife and daughters have a small consulting company Actuality Business Intelligence we collaborated on creating an assessment and power point on how to improve the rehabilitation scheduling system and patient/therapist flow, from my perspective anything that made rehab like work was good.
To be clear my hospital room was family “Grand Central Station”
This post is dedicated to you , I love you with all my heart and soul, forever and ever. God has truly blessed me with you as my soul mate and to receive your love and care.
Your eternally grateful husband – Ira
Ira Warren Whiteside