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Surviving Stroke

Posted on August 2, 2020 | No Comments on Surviving Stroke

Admit it or not, many people, especially the elderly, are afraid of stroke. As stroke comes unexpectedly, one may suffer from it, even die from it, but one can also surpass it.

Take the case of Wilfredo “Joe” Punzalan. His family described him as a strong person. Until one day, he suffered from stroke. The whole family felt so down, but they became so grateful. Since Joe now has a speech defect due to what had happened, I interviewed his daughter, Fatima.

It was last February 15, the day after Joe got drunk, when the incident happened. Fatima suspects the foods that her dad ate might have triggered the stroke. He had sinigang na sugpo, fried fish and pancit for breakfast. Then he went to the garage to clean their car, but told his friend he was going to sleep first because of a headache. Joe fell asleep in their garage, and there, he had a stroke.

No one was with him at that time. Until Fatima’s cousins saw Joe and brought him to the hospital.

Totally unexpected
The whole family knew Joe had high blood pressure, but no one expected that something like that could happen. “Because we find it normal every time his BP gets high,” explained Fatima. “His BP went high even when he was abroad, but he never had a stroke.” It was only after Joe was hospitalized when they discovered he had diabetes.

Fatima shared it was stressful, depressing but spiritually uplifting while Joe was in the hospital. She said they were happy to know that their dad was a good and loved person, as there were many people who prayed for him. They were depressed as they never expected it to happen.

In the hospital, everyone was hopeful, according to her. They prayed every now and then. Fatima shared they probably called almost all the Saints for help. Despite being depressed, she was grateful that many people showed concern for her family and helped them take care of Joe.

The greatest challenge their family faced while Joe was in the hospital was when they were asked permission for his operation. They were told there was no guarantee that Joe would get well after the operation, as its result would be “50/50”. Fatima was faithful. “I did not doubt whether the operation would be successful. I knew it would be successful,” she said.

She added she was confident her dad would surpass it. The financial burden was another big challenge. They had no money when Joe was hospitalized. Fatima’s brother, who currently abroad, shouldered most of the is expenses.

Fatima cried the day after Joe was brought to the hospital, but she never thought of giving up. “God is with me! God is with us, I knew it!” she uttered. She knew they needed to be strong and be able to accept what was happening. “He has plans. He will never forsake us,” she added.

Due to that incident, Fatima had several realizations. Though it was so hard for her that her dad was near death, she had to be strong. “Ang hirap magpakita na nanghihina ka na kung ikaw na Icing ang lakas ng mga kasama ko, lalo na ng Mama ko,” (It’s hard to show weakness when I am the only source of hope for my family, especially my mom) explained Fatima. She also realized the value of money, and noted that loved ones might just die from illness if you don’t have money. Moreover, she discovered that being the eldest in the family requires good decision making, since her mom could not decide well at that time.

Most importantly, she realized that God is our only hope. Only God can do miracles. “God is good, all the time,” she confirmed, and added that what happened to Joe was not the end of the world for them but just the beginning. “I am praising God with all my heart, because not everyone is given a second life. He is really awesome!”

The bright side
Joe’s family became closer with each other. They are now more bonded, and they realized they are not alone, for a lot of people care for them. Fatima shared the good feeling they have, for many of their friends’ support.

It was a wakeup call for Joe’s family. “We do not know when God will tap us; we have to be ready every day,” emphasized Fatima. She also noted the value of thanking God for each brand new day He gives us.

Joe gets better as days go by. He can now utter a few words. His family is happy and grateful despite what happened. They’re back to normal, according to Fatima, and they’ve settled almost all their bills.

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