Dad’s Stroke Recovery Update

For those of you following my dad‘s story, I know that updates on social media have been few-and-far-between. There’s a lot to share, but I’m just not all there yet. I’m trying to practice giving myself grace by letting it be okay and quieting the part of me that feels duty-bound to make sure everyone’s up to speed.

I’ve realized that our family’s processing a very complicated type of grief. Dad’s still alive, but right now, there are feelings of loss of who he was in terms of physical and cognitive abilities. It’s difficult to articulate. I often feel silly or ungrateful for feeling so very sad, because Dad’s still here with us. I have days where I’m overwhelmingly thankful for the progress that he’s been blessed with. Days where I feel paralyzed by pain. Days where I’m so angry I can hardly focus on anything else. Days where I feel guilty for enjoying my life and health. Days when I mourn future memories of Dad & Beckett that MAY never happen. Days where I’m afraid that Dad’s condition’s genetic, so maybe this is something my sister, myself, or my son will face in the future (Lord, please no!). Days where I feel desperate to be by my dad’s side, while other days I want to avoid the topic completely.

Jimmy, Beckett, and I flew out to see Dad and the family a few weeks ago. This was an exciting trip for many reasons. Dad hasn’t seen Beckett since Beckett was 10 days old! We got to be a part of Dad’s transition home from the hospital, which was so special. Dad got to spend quality time with Beckett. Earlier in Dad’s recovery, one of the things that made me most scared was that Beckett and Dad wouldn’t be able to have a meaningful relationship. I would sob at night about just this!

Praise God that this isn’t the case! Dad was adamant that whenever we were going somewhere, he had to hold Beckett’s hand. Beckett also got to sit in Papaw’s lap as he was wheeled out of the hospital to go home and on walks around the neighborhood! Dad helped with bath time and would have competitions with Beckett on who was a messier eater, ha! They had many “conversations” about how proud they were of each other. My heart melted over and over!

Dad’s still experiencing some physical, cognitive, and speech disabilities and requires 24/7 care and supervision. His has a few personality changes that reflect a classic right-hemisphere stroke. There’s so much of him that’s the same, especially when topics involve medical care or making sure the people in his home are comfortable, but right now, there’s also moments that aren’t “Dad.” We’re on our knees that Dad recovers 100%!

Dad was discharged home after 83 days spent in a hospital or inpatient rehab setting, but just over a week later, he was readmitted to the hospital for aspiration pneumonia. He’s recovered from that and was recently transferred to another subacute rehabilitation facility due to lack of resources to provide 24/7 care for Dad at home. Michelle’s working fervently with insurance to obtain more approved days of stay, as well as finding unskilled caregivers to take care of Dad once he’s at home, since Michelle needs to be working full-time (at her brand new job as a principal and teacher of 5th-8th!).

As you can imagine, the financial burden of this whole ordeal is tremendous. Michelle anticipates that insurance won’t cover all of the medical care provided. She’s also been informed that insurance does not cover non-medical caregivers. So, Dad & Michelle will be paying out of pocket for Dad to be cared for at home. If you feel led to give to our family, we’d greatly benefit from and deeply appreciate the generosity. A GoFundMe was started early on and has given my dad SO much peace of mind!

I’m thankful for those willing to pray for my family through this rollercoaster. It’s messy and takes a true friendship to be willing to step into it with us. Prayers make a difference. God’s hand has been seen throughout this journey. Thank you in advance for yours! 🙂

Here are a few iPhone photo highlights from our trip!

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  1. Beverly I Bonilla says:

    What an amazing journey. Thank you for sharing. My name is Beverly Bonilla, physical
    Therapist who took care of your dad years ago at Florida hospital after his first stroke.
    It was unique because at that time his primary limitation was his speech aphasia. Yet he worked hard towards talking. I had the honor to work with him in his walking
    And overall functional rehabilitation

    I am sad that he going through this tough journey. The lord is an amazing healer, provider and I know that, by His grace Erwin will reach the highest functional abilities to reintegrate to the community. He is an overcomer and Victorious in the name of the Lord.
    I will continue to pray for restoration.

  2. Alyssa says:

    Thank you Ms. Bonilla for your prayers and for your help during Dad’s first recovery journey. This stroke appears to have hit him harder. We’re sad, but have hope! Thanks for the encouragement. I know it means a lot to him!

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