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Garry G.
Garry G.
Survivor

Bernard R.


Survivor

March 14 1999, 7.30 a.m. it was an ordinary day. Got in to my 1990 3 series BMW and enjoyed the drive to Lanka Payphones office at YMBA building in Borrella.  Got in to my office at 8.30 a.m. and went through the plan for the day.  The tea boy walked in at a.m. with my usual cup of tea. I grabbed the tea and somehow it slipped off my hands.  So the boy brought me another and I managed  to drop it again.  By this time, some folks in the office hadfigured out something was not right and by this time I was unable to speak … I recall Mr.. X carrying me to the car and rushing to hospital.  I was immediately admitted to ICU at Nawaloka hospital.  By this time I was unable to talk, walk or use my hands.

I had suffered a massive stroke! Partially paralyzed, I was in the ICU for several days and Doctors at the time had little hope for a full recovery.  After several weeks, I was moved back home, but unable to communicate nor move without assistance.  This was a particularly difficult time for me and my family.  After years of running at 100 mph living a busy executive lifestyle, it seems as if my world had collapsed around me, feeling helpless and confused unable to play the “bread winner” role of the family anymore. About this time my dear employer paid a courtesy call to my house and requested I sign some documents to help process my resignation as I was obviously not in a position to work anymore.  Only years after this I realized that my former employers eagerness to get sign off on papers was driven by one purpose: To avoid payment of my gratuity – i.e. my voluntary resignation would relieve them from the responsibility to pay gratuity..  Which would have been a significant financial assistance for me and my family at the time.  Having difficulty with the mounting medical bills, I am fortunate and ever grateful to the IEE, where the IEE Benevolent fund was kind enough to provide funds for many years….

The long and rocky road to recovery started, where physiotherapy, frequent check-ups in hospitals, and consultation of specialists from speech, heart  to physical was the norm.  I recall the time I had to go back to learning ABCs, learning to count. Painfully and slowly graduating to spelling simple words, counting to 20 were significant achievements.  Speech recovery being particularly stressful and countless therapy sessions, each one making small incremental improvements.

Years of speech and physiotherapy, diet control and medications with a heavy dose of determination helped slowly but surely gain control of my speech and limbs.  14 years later I consider myself lucky to be able to practically lead a normal life.  Some say it must be a miracle and I believe my near death experience and recovery from a speechless, 80% paralysis condition to a current state is more than a miracle.

 

 

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