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James T.


How Fast Life Can Change

My name is James Tisdale. I had my stroke on September 24, 2011 at the age of 45.

I left my house that day not having any idea that it would be three months later before I would come home again and how different life would be.

After collecting payments that morning from my lawn care customers, I stopped by the grocery store. While in the store I called my mom about coming to dinner that night. I noticed something weird about my speech. Then I couldn't hold my keys. I couldn't pick them up. Finally I did pick them up and my left foot started dragging behind me. I left the store and went and got in my jeep. I started to drive and called my wife while I was driving. I told her there was something wrong with my left side. She asked me where I was and I told her which store I was at. Then I dropped the phone and crashed into a bridge. I ended up on the other side of the road. I totaled the jeep and broke my right femur bone. Fortunately, no one else was involved the accident. My wife told me later that she thought I was still in the parking lot at the store. When I dropped the phone she said she called 911 and told them where I was at. She had no idea about the accident until she came up on it on the way to the hospital.

I was taken to a hospital about an hour away by ambulance. Our hospital didn't have the neurosurgeons on call at the time. We were told that my stroke was Ischemic with Hemorrhagic Conversion. I had a clot that the doctor removed and then had a bleed afterwards. I was paralyzed on my left side. I had no left peripheral vision and weak frontal vision in the left eye. After four days I had a steel rod put in my right leg. I spent 3 weeks in the hospital and then 3 weeks in the inpatient rehab at the hospital.

The next six weeks I spent doing inpatient rehab at a nursing facility. I was determined not to miss my seven year old daughters Christmas. So on December 24, 2011 I was able to come home for good. My wife was told by the therapists and nurses that I would probably not walk again (I could not move my leg or arm at all), and if I did it would be very limited.

On Christmas Day I moved the upper part of my left leg. The next week I started in home therapy in which I was taught to walk again. After three weeks I started outpatient therapy at a local hospital. I did that for about four months. At first I walked with a hemi-walker, then a quad cane, and after 9 months from the stroke, I started to use a single cane. I am walking some now without the cane. I'm still wobbly, but I'm getting better. I can only move my upper left arm very slightly every once in a while. No movement at all in the rest of my arm or hand. I still have no left peripheral vision, but the front vision has gotten much better. I am slowly getting used to only being able to use one arm for everything.

I have good days and bad. I never would have imagined this kind of change, but I am very blessed to have had a second chance at life.


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