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Buddhism in the News


Monday, December 03, 2007

My Father's Stroke Emergency

I'm very shaken right now. I just got off the phone with my mother and it turns out that my father had a mini-stroke last night!! I'm on the verge of tears here as I type this out because my dad and I hadn't had the best relationship when I was growing but now (in the past decade) we've really become close and have become real friends and tight buddies. We see each other twice a week and I'm am so thankful that I have had this time with him.

Apparently he went into the middle bedroom in their house early last night to get something and was hit with a wave of exhaustion, so he decided to lie down and before long an hour had gone by. My mom just figured he needed a cat nap and didn't think anything of it until he woke up. He sat down at the table with my mom and they began discussing things when my mom noticed that he wasn't making any sense in the conversation. He was confused about what my mother was saying and was having trouble forming the right words. He was able, however, to express that he felt foggy in his head and like he was just coming out of anesthesia. Having just talked about risk factors and signs of as stroke my mom knew something was wrong and rushed him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with having had a mini stroke. He's alive and doing well now but still tired and surely concerned. He will see a specialized doctor to discuss the way forward this afternoon. The doctor that saw him in the hospital last night said that they will most likely get him on blood thinners.

I guess the good news here is that while he came close to disaster he is now aware that he is prone to such a problem and can make the changes necessary to increase his chances of avoiding a major stroke in the future. It is a time of fear that can be changed into a moment of personal growth. It is time to be reborn into a new reality that can catapult one into a more meaningful quality of life. Meditation is a great way to release the fear of sickness and death by relaxing the body and mind through concentrating on deep breathing. This kind of meditation is like pulling the plug on a bathtub to drain the water. It helps us drain all the fearful thoughts that are preventing us from finding happiness and peace in the present moment. It helps us keep up with the stress and worries in life. It is like a mini-vacation for the mind and once you relax your mind you relax your body which helps one heal.

It is times like right now when my understanding of impermanence also comes to my aid. I haven't taken my time with my dad lately for granted. I know that he is aging and even though he is in great health he isn't invincible. I love him dearly. This is a powerful reminder to me that nothing in this life is unchanging. It is a lesson in making the most of the present moment. So give your loved ones hugs and enjoy their presence because the present moment is the only moment we have. We have no assurances that there will be a tomorrow.

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the living mandala said...

My sincerest best wishes to your father. I went through this with my grandmother last year, and it's never easy to see someone that you've always looked up to reduced to such a vulnerable state.

I'll keep him and your family in my thoughts and hopefully he has a quick and full recovery.

Brian said...

These mini-strokes are known in Britain as TIA's (I don't know what that stands for).

There's a bad news/good news aspect to them. The bad news is that they are indeed strokes. The good news is that they cause little or no irreversible damage but serve to warn of a potential impending major stroke which can be averted by medication and dietary/exercise changes.

My mother had her first TIA in 1975. She's still alive. She was put on medication and dietary changes and has a number of TIA's since then but no major stroke.

Her physical and mental faculties were OK till around 2003 when unfortunately Alzheimers began to set in.

I hope your father makes a full recovery and he and his doctor work out a medication/dietary/exercise regime to prevent a major stroke.

- Brian

Brian said...

Advice on TIAs:

Greenwoman said...

More big hugs....

Daniel @ Garanhuns said...

I just found your blog and I see I came in at a difficult moment. All the best to you and yours.


Carla said...

Hi James. I know this kind of thing can really shake you up, but I thought I'd let you know that my dad had a mini stroke nearly 15 years ago that left him with one side of his face paralyzed, but he fully recovered from it and has not had another since. Blessings to you, keep breathing in and out! Big hugs.

PeterAtLarge said...

Here's metta for your father, James. May he enjoy a full recovery.

tinythinker said...

For James and his family.

ps-please forgive the typo

jackson said...

Your father is lucky to have a son like you. This situation, though devastating and downright heartbreaking, is yet another opportunity to look deep in to love, compassion, and as you mentioned - impermanence.

Many blessings to you and your family during this difficult time.

Ginger said...

Seeing a parent in such a vulnerable state can have very harsh effects on your psyche and I certainly empathize.

Please accept my well wishes for you, your Father, Mother and anyone else in your world right now.

I bow to you and am honored to have our worlds intermingle today.


Zahir said...

deep inside the folds of problems hides the lesson each seeks.. and we need to open up to uncover the secrets within.. hope you rediscover the joy of togetherness laughing at the paucity of time.. my regards for your father..

They call him James Ure said...

Thank-you everyone for your well wishes, support and hugs/love. You guys are great. I send you my love in return.


Riverwolf said...

New to your blog, and I wish your father all the best. And you, too. When someone has a stroke, it affects everyone close to them.

My partner had a serious stroke 3 months ago. He's recovering but things aren't back to 100%. Our relationship dynamic has been upended, and he is dependent on me for lots of things now.

I liked what you wrote: "It is a time of fear that can be changed into a moment of personal growth. It is time to be reborn into a new reality that can catapult one into a more meaningful quality of life." This is true for me, and I hope my partner realizes this as well. If nothing else, his stroke has pushed me farther down a new spiritual path.

And deep breathing works wonders. I've used it so many times over the last couple of months to deal with the unknown. Unexpected health crises are quite scary for everyone involved. Stay as centered and in the moment as possible....

They call him James Ure said...


First, Welcome to the blog. Second, thank-you for your well wishes. He seems to be doing much better and is now on an aspirin regiment. As well as taking an anti-cholesterol medicine.

I'm sure your insights into your partners stroke will serve you well. It sure is amazing how trans formative these events can be for oneself if we but take advantage of it.

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