Getting Better at Going Places

In November 2004, my husband Ronald had a massive stroke at the age of 49. The only symptom he had was that he lost vision for just a few seconds. He went directly to the emergency room (ER) where he had the stroke right in front of the doctors. Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

It is so critical to go directly to the ER and not to your doctor's office. Timing and treatment are critical to survival. In Ronnie's case, the stroke was so massive that the next day he had to have half his skull removed due to the swelling in his brain.

The stroke left Ronnie paralyzed on the left side. He spent four months in the hospital, and finally had his skull replaced in March 2005 – pretty amazing! A few months later he celebrated his 50th birthday. He has learned how to walk again with a special leg brace and cane.

Every Saturday night for the past several months, I encourage Ronnie and my dad, Tony Fago, who had a mild stroke two weeks before Ronnie, to get dressed up and go out to a local diner.

Afterwards we go to the local Wal-Mart so dad and Ronnie can ride the electric carts and practice their driving skills. It is quite a sight to see the two of them racing down the aisles. I usually find them in the candy aisle. So far, we have no traffic violations!

We also belong to a local stroke support group. Our leader, Joan Haines, encourages all the members to get out and socialize. I'm glad we tried it because my family gets better and better at going places.

Deb Antonowich, Caregiver

The Wethersfield Stroke Club

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