After a great Christmas holiday we settled in to a regular work schdule.with Jess and Sarah off to their duties on base while I made my regular visits to the butcher and the baker. I was doing a lot of reading and napping. Naps are good, as I had discovered in China. Sarah and Jess took a weekend skiing in Austria and Sarah left for 10 days in the US for more fitness and Yoga training. On the Friday morning after Sarah’s departure, January 14, I suffered a stroke. Early in the morning I had a problem rolling over in bed. When I got up, I fell down. Jess hadn’t left for work yet and I called him and told him what was going on. He called the local volunteer ambulance and they arrived within minutes. Two young women had a difficult time, even with Jess’s help, getting me down the stairs in their special chair to ground level and the ambulance. Once in the ambulance we had to wait for a doctor to arrive. After a few minutes the doctor arrived in another ambulance. He spoke pretty good English and he, after some checking, informed me that my brain had an insult, whatever that is. Anyway, soon we were off to Weiden and a hospital about 20 miles away. Two doctors, both female, took charge of me and ran a series of tests, including a MRI. Again, I was told I had a brain insult and shown on the MRI the spots on my brain that were the insults. I think something is lost in translation. Jess stayed with me, took care of paperwork, even gave the hospital a deposit (just like the States, they would like assurances of being paid), and began notifying next of kin. Son Brad, concerned that I was in a Third World Country, made arrangements to come two or three days later and quickly satisfied himself that I was getting excellent care. My first full day in the hospital I had both speech therapy and physical therapy. They don’t waste any time. It was hard to sleep as I was all wired up and just about every time I moved an alarm of some sort would go off. At least when Brad got here, he read me an interesting book. It seems like only yesterday that I was reading books to Brad.
After 10 days of tests and relatively sleepless nights, I was transferred to a rehabilitation clinic of my choice. I chose one here in Erbendorf, which had been recommended by several medical people and was very convenient for Sarah and Jess. Food was ok and the care was great. The rehabilitation was strenuous to say the least. Some days I would be soaked with sweat. Other days just plain exhausted. Generally would start at 8:30 or 9:00 and finish around 4:00. I slept very well as I was usually dead tired by the end of the day. I was able to see progress as I slowly regained use of my left leg and limited use of my left hand. Within two weeks I was starting to walk again, albeit without much confidence. I can now walk with a cane with confidence. The arm has been slower to come back but continues to improve. The biggest disadvantage was no Internet. However, Sarah and Jess kept me well stocked with movies from the base library, which I could watch on my computer. I also read several books. After five weeks in the rehab center I returned home to Sarah and Jess’s from where I speak. I do my exercises every day and twice a week I return to the rehab center to be worked over by Matthias, one of the physical therapists. Matthias is great. He knows when to push and when to back off. I owe much of my progress to him and his persistence. So here I am, tired, sore, and impatient. My future plans are up in the air. I desire to return to Michigan and my home in the woods there but probably am not ready for it. In time I will be, but the question is how much time? Patience was never one of my finer aspects. So, my minor change of plans is that I have no plans at all.