According to the Australian Stroke Foundation, stroke is the second biggest killer in Australia after coronary heart disease. Thankfully, Mark didn’t contribute to this statistic. The effects of a stroke are known fairly well amongst society, on the patient’s behalf that is. The thoughts, feelings and emotions of a stroke victim’s family in their struggle to deal with the events that take place are difficult to comprehend, however as Anne-Maree tells us, ‘Often the experiences that hurt the most are the most beneficial in the long run.‘ That truly is the case with this family.
Following his close-encounter with death row, Mark and his family are taking each day as they come. It is true what they say, absence makes the heart grows fonder. For the average individual, 4 hours is not a long time, particularly given the vast amount of distractions now available. However for this family on one Sunday evening in August, 4 hours truly did feel like a lifetime. Patrick, the son of Anne-Maree and Mark, was spending quality time at home that very morning with his dad, and so he says that waiting for a phone call from surgeons at Liverpool Hospital about his extremely ill father was one of the worst few hours he can ever recall living through.
This story does not stop when Mark’s surgery was a success though. What happens when stroke patients are cleared by their many supervising doctors and allowed to venture home to continue with their lives? This is truly where the side-effects of a cerebellum stroke come to light. Excessive fatigue, decreased focus and concentration, loss of balance and stability, plenty of frustration. Mark has returned to normal bodily function, however is still prone to and showing all of these side-effects some 3 months after his stroke Anne-Maree tells us. His family, despite all they have gone through, still boast love and appreciation for everything that life has thrown at them, because, as Patrick said, ‘It could be worse, he could be dead.’
This is a family who seem like your average family upon first glance, and in all honesty, they are. Take a look at a family’s story of their encounter with death, and how it improved their outlook on what were given in this life.