Jim K's story

June 2,1999 changed my way of life forever.  I had been dealing with Atrial Fibrillation for sometime,  I had been to the hospital for a heart defibrillation, but it was not effective, the next time it was in sync, but did not stay in for many days.  The cardiologist put me on another medication that seemed to keep my heart regular and took me off coumadin.  Three days later my wife and I returned home froma shopping trip, we sat down to rest and I had a stroke.

I was in Forsyth hospital for eleven days.  I suffered paralysis on the left side, left arm leg and left side of my face,  I was fed through a tube for six months.

I was in Whittaker care for six weeks and recieved excellent physical, occupational and speech therapy.  I left there having to use a sliding board to get in the car.  I spent ninty days in Price Nursing care unit at Brookridge,  while there I had physical occupational and speech therapy.  The speech was to help me swallow,  called deep throat pharyngel stimulation,  and x-rays every three months.  By October I could have food the consistancy of pudding, then by November I could have the consistancy of nector after going through the summer without even a peice of icemy first foodwas icecream and that was the best I ever tasted.

I went through months of anger, frustration, depression, and woundering why me?

At Brookridge, I had a physical therapist that worked very hard moving my footone step at a time, by the time I leftthere, I could walk a little help, a gait belt, and a hemi walker.  I suffered neuopathy in the left leg and foot, with sever pain in the left foot.  February 2001, I had surgery, on the heel cord and was back at Whitaker care for three weeks.  My foot being flatter on the floor helped my balance, and I could walk a little better with help.  Soon the therapists were all gone saying "this is all we can do" I felt dispair and depression, believing that this is as far as I would ever go.  In April after m foot surgery I developed diabetes, I have insulin twice daily and watch my diet, I can eat and drink but have all my pills crushed.

The last two years I have been spinning ny wheels, walking with help once a day, thinking I would never move my arm, and having sever pain in my left foot and being depressed.  We have a friend, Wayne Wilson, my room mate at Whittaker rehab, who had almost the same c9ondition as I have,  We were at a reunion, and to my surprise Wayne walked in alone using a cane, he had driven his car there and walked in from the parking lot.  I was so happy to see his remarkable recovery, it seemed like a miracle, and of cource I asked all the questions and learned that Dan Nowak had been working with him at the YMCA in King.

After another year of pondering what to do, I decided to look into Stokes YMCA, and see what Dan Nowak is about.  I called Dan and planned a time to visit and observe.  He evaluated my condition and set up a plan for my participation in his program.  I go four days each week.  Since I have been going to Dan I am much stronger and have seen gradual improvement in my  ablitiy to function in daily activities, I have about 30% mobility in my left arm and some movement in my ability hand, I have taken some steps alone.  This has happend in four months. Dan had said this is slow process and we make progress a little at a time.  So I look forward to gaining more and more mobility as time goes on.  Most importantly, I now have hope.  I have learned to appreciate and respect Dan's ability to work with and help stroke survivours far beyond my expectation.  I do not say that is a easy path, because it is not.  It is hard and gets harder but you can see results.  Dan is very knowledgeable in this art and asks a lot from you, but the results pay off.  If anyone is interested in knowing first hand about this experience,  I would be happy to talk to you about it.  I am one person glad that he took the opportunity to go to Dan,  and I would recommend him to anyone who is interested in his service.

James K

09.06.03