I know it has been a while since I posted last, and I am sorry, but sometimes it’s just hard to put the words together, you know? My brother is doing so well, he was able to come home last Saturday and has very limited damage from the stroke. The doctors determined he doesn’t need physical therapy at all, and only needs speech therapy once a week, thank God. He has to go back next month for heart surgery to replace his aortic valve with an artificial one, so the focus right now is keeping him well-rested and in good spirits, and making sure he is in the best possible health when he goes under the knife. The staff that is doing the surgery have high hopes because he has one of the healthiest hearts they’ve ever worked on. He is not a typical heart patient with clogged arteries and layers of fat. Turns out R has a birth defect that only opens his aorta in two places instead of four, so all this blood pooled behind the valve and a clot formed. When he went running that morning the clot came loose and caused the stroke. Here’s the first part of the miracle. He was able to finish a three mile run, drive home, wake the kids up for school, and get a shower before the stroke symptoms started. If he had the stroke out on the track it could have been hours before anyone found him, making the recovery far, far worse, and possibly even killing him. Now, the second part of the miracle. If he hadn’t had the stroke, the birth defect would have gone undetected until his aortic valve exploded from the pressure, killing him instantly. Thank God for strokes.
Whenever I talked to people that know my brother, they almost always said, “It isn’t fair. There are terrible people out there that live forever, and R works out everyday, is a good father, works hard to do the right thing, and he gets a stroke.” Well. First of all, if any of those terrible people out there had a stroke like R’s, they probably wouldn’t live through it. R did so well because he works out and takes care of his body. (Wake-up call #1.) Second of all, if the stroke had killed him, he would be remembered for all his good traits and looked up to by anyone who knew him. (Wake-up call #2.) I know it doesn’t seem fair, but sometimes life isn’t fair. People die whether they deserve it or not, and we have to make sure we are going to be remembered as the type of person who always did the right thing by pushing ourselves in our daily lives to make the most of what God has given us. If I die today, who will remember me? What will they remember me for? I know I can’t have everyone like me, and I’m sure there are a couple people who would spit on my grave if they had a chance, but I can’t do anything about that. I just have to focus on doing what is best for my family, being a good friend, working hard, keeping a reputation of honesty, and living according to my core values. When I die, I want there to be no question in anyone’s mind about what I stood for and who I loved.