It may not be Thanksgiving, but with Canada Day and Independence Day this past week and with summer in full swing, it’s pretty hard not to be thinking about what a fella is thankful for.
There’s life itself, great parents, an amazing wife and daughters who’ve managed not to inherit my faults and have taken in all the good stuff – and there’s plenty of that — their mom was able to pass on to them.
There are friends, travel, work, volunteering and seemingly random experiences that have enriched me and challenged my thinking.
There’s also a great country and province to call home, a place where the son of a bricklayer and secretary gets the same breaks and has the same opportunities as anybody else.
Of course, there’s also the shite. But there’s even stuff to be thankful for there.
Post stroke Tim looks at a stunning mountain range, a perfectly maintained ’64 Porsche and hears the subtleties of a Jimi Hendrix guitar solo differently than pre stroke Tim did. The moment isn’t to be taken lightly; I drink it in and savor the taste. I try to lock it in my memory banks as brain food to draw on later. This sounds a little dorky when I play it back out loud with my robo reader.
But it is what it is. And it’s true.
Post-stroke, I write every day, I put out this blog, I’m sprucing up a book and I may even have a bead on a publisher. Pre-stroke Tim mostly just thought about writing.
I’m also thankful for timing and science.
If I’d stroked out when Canada was born – 148 years ago – I’d have been done for. The damage would have been even worse and the rehab non-existent. I can’t bear to think about what life would have been like if I’d had a family. I’d have been useless to them and myself.
Even if I’d stroked out 10 or 20 years ago, I’m not so sure that I’d be working and living a life I’d call living. There has been loads of improvement in stroke awareness and treatment. I’m sure that I benefited from this knowledge and thank God for that.
Had I stroked out today in another part of the world, I fear that my brain buzz would have had more dire consequences. Would I have gotten the treatment I needed when I needed it? Time is money when it comes to this stuff. The more a brain fries, the more damage is done. And that makes it much harder to put humpty dumpty back together again.
I sometimes wonder if there’s another guy about my age who stroked out at the same time that I did in the same part of the brain, the only difference being that he lived in a part of the globe without the access to care that I had. What’s that guy’s life like today?
I’m also thankful that there’s hope today for the hell and the fear that people are facing right this second. I’m thankful that there are folks – like you and me — that can lend a hand. And that there’s hope for a lot of great moments to come.