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Anthony J.


Expect the unexpected

In the fall of 2007, I endured a cerebral hemorrhage which very few people are expected to survive from. The speed of which it occurred and persisted left the EMT's, ER, and my family with little hope of my survival. As the blood pumped into my cranial cavity and filled the spaces, it began compressing my brain and sending me into the most horrific pain one can endure. Normally sufferers of this would be unconscious and eventually die, but I did not.

After a week and a half I chose to come out of the drug induced coma. The damage was massive and extensive. Blood that comes in contact with the brain kills the cells it touches. There would be no way of telling how damaged I was and because I had a tracheotomy, I was not able to speak right away so no one knew where I was mentally.

Steadily the signs started pouring in. I began using a thumbs up for "yes" and the middle finger for "no". Despite the crudeness of the action, everyone was pleased and optimistic. I started crying one day and when asked what was wrong.. I made a writing motion with my hand requesting paper and pencil. Everyone scrambled to find the objects while in complete shock and anticipation of what I might say. My first written words; "I don't know where to begin." I not only knew the "sign language", but I knew words and could use them coherently. After they felt comfortable not hovering over me, my family decided to go out to get something to eat. None knew the area and was trying to find a Chinese restaurant but struggled to do so. I asked if there was a laptop with internet access, they gave me one. Some typing and clicking... "Here's one." I work in IT, so returning to work now looked hopeful.

However, I still had cognitive issues to overcome. I could find a restaurant on the internet but I couldn't tell you what things you would keep in a refrigerator. It would be a lengthy journey before being ready to function normally again. It took me nearly 6 months to go from being like a severly autistic child to a semi-capable adult returning to work. Money was tight, so getting back to work was a necessity but I was not in the best of condition to do so. My benefits wouldn't support more therapy and we couldn't afford to continue as I was the primary bread winner. I continue to improve but will never be 100% and fear for my future as I have trouble learning new things.. and change is the only constant in the IT field. Keeping up is difficult.


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