Sonny’s husband, Thom, suffered a severe stroke that left him with severe Broca’s aphasia and right hemiplegia. Sonny has had to do everything around the house and with Thom, as Thom doesn’t want anyone else helping him. As a fiercely independent person before his stroke, Thom is working his way back towards that day by day
Thom was a teacher for 40 years at a school called Berkeley Preparatory School. He taught math, the calculus and higher math. So he worked countless hours, at least 12, 14, sometimes 16 hour days but he never complained. He did his thing and he was great at balancing everything.
Thom's stroke was on January 3rd, 2017. So at this point, it's about 16, 17 months out. Thom had a massive hemorrhagic stroke in the basal ganglia. There was about 40 cc of blood. They gave him a 28% chance to live, which was anywhere from being normal to being on life support essentially. And yet, 17 months, here he is.
He looks night and day different. Even month by month, he looks so much better every month, but it's just part of the healing process. As far as physically, it's taken quite a toll on him. Because it was in the basal ganglia on the left side, it has caused him to be somewhat paralyzed on the right side. It's really limited him as far as everyday life. He was a very independent person.
What's been the hardest thing for both of us is me having to do, literally, everything. From all the household chores to paying the bills to just doing the day-to-day stuff. Getting Thom dressed every day, preparing all three meals, and Thom being the picky eater that he is, it really does limit us. Thom was very independent, but he also took the initiative to take care of things, going to the grocery store. Now everything has fallen on me. So that's been the hardest thing. Just the adjustment for both of us. It's just me doing, literally, everything.
Yes, I actually have 2 jobs. I work full time in an IT job which allows me to work at home. Which is the greatest thing ever. This allows me to take care of Thom without having to hire someone. Because Thom wouldn't allow that. He doesn't want anyone helping but me, which makes it quite difficult.
I have a camera set up in the house. This camera I can control from a phone or a computer. So I'm able to see that the tv's messed up, and I can go ahead and fix it from one of the other apps for the cable companies where you can take over the tv. But most of the time, I just keep an eye on him. Thankfully my job with the Lightning allows me to work on a computer with a huge monitor and I just have a little window with him.
Be patient. For me, Thom has tested my patience so much. I actually have way more patience than I ever expected. But then again, I love Thom, he's the greatest person ever. There are so many times I'm like "oh my god, why can't you just do this?" and then I sit down and say "ok, he's having a really hard time right now" Just collect yourself and try again.
The biggest thing is patience. The next thing would be, just explore every option possible. I didn't know about this, I wish someone told me. See what has worked for other people and if there's a cost with it, who cares. It's money.
Would you rather let them suffer because you're going to be very frugal about it, or just say this is the best thing for him. If I have to do a second job to make them happy so they can live again and not just exist, then yeah.