Squeeze My Hand Dad!

A precious moment

My dad has endured a long battle with coronary artery disease and has suffered two heart attacks and bypass surgery. He has congenital atherosclerosis on the male side of the family. Sadly two of his brothers didn’t make it.

Approximately a year ago dad had a stroke which left him temporarily completely paralysed however receiving excellent care and rapid administration of the clot-dissolving thrombolysis drug called Alteplase saved him. Incredibly, he was discharged the next day albeit with unpleasant effects. The neurologist was a warm Christian man and said what a miracle his recovery was!

Sadly late last week dad collapsed with a more severe ischaemic stroke affecting a different part of his brain. He initially couldn’t move his left side and struggled to swallow and talk. I was devastated and booked a train up to Scotland for the moment my husband and I returned from our outing. I was numb, in a daze and weepy as the train sped past areas dad and I loved exploring. A gruelling eight hours since I got out of bed later, I arrived in a town near the Scottish Borders. The guest house was a welcome rest.

The next morning I prepared myself and headed to the hospital. I was upset seeing dad so helpless, in pain and confused but I had to be strong for him just as my parents were strong for me when I had my arterio-venous malformation haemorrhagic stroke. I looked into his eyes and saw he was in there fighting. His speech and swallowing improved quite dramatically over the three days I was there so it was lovely helping him drink and talking to him, reminiscing on good things.

He keeps wiggling his toes and has begun to raise his arm which was amazing, I really praised and encouraged him to keep trying. I know he will, us McAdams (my maiden name) are tough and always take on challenges head on. He was trying his best to eat a bowl of creamy rice pudding.

Unfortunately, at the moment, he can’t move his left hand and wrist nor has he any sensation from his elbow down. I opened up his hand to stretch his fingers then put a bottle of water in his grasp like a splint. I didn’t want his fingers getting stiff and clenched. I held his hand again on the last day I visited him and asked him if he could feel me. He said no but thought he could feel pressure. I excitedly squealed, “That’s great dad! There’s something there!“. Then you know what happened?

He suddenly squeezed my hand!

I cried with joy and kissed him on the forehead. I gave him all the encouragement I could muster and asked him to squeeze on command. He did so I shouted for the nurse a bit too loudly but I was thrilled. The above photo was taken on one of dad’s squeezes. My arm is the one with the gold Casio watch strap. It is now the wallpaper on my phone so that each day I feel like I’m holding dad’s hand.

Dad has a few months of hard work ahead and the full extent of his disability is uncertain but he will try so hard just as he always does in life.

I’ll be back up to see you soon dad, be as strong and brave as you can.

Win or lose, sink or swim, one thing is certain we’ll never give in ~ a childhood favourite with lovely words

Dedicated to my dad and everyone who has suffered from the devastating effects of head trauma.

Copyright © 2022 Sharon Lawson™ All Rights Reserved

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