Rob Rawlings - “I Got This!”
Rob Rawlings is a forty-seven year old husband and father of four, who was working as a sales and marketing executive. Prior to the stroke, Rob lived a healthy and active lifestyle, enjoying time with family and friends, golfing, yoga, and hitting the gym. At the age of 46, Rob survived a massive stroke. Now Rob is working hard at rehabilitation to get back what he lost, and to hopefully inspire others!
After spending eleven days in the hospital in the Neurological ICU wing, I was transferred to an in-patient rehab hospital for another six weeks. During this six-week period, I received what can only be described as exceptional care from the doctors, nurses, the techs and therapists. Occupational, physical and speech therapy were part of my daily routine, and I know my “team” was truly vested in my outcome and overall well-being. I can’t thank them enough!
After my stroke, I was overwhelmed with different emotions. Denial. Sadness. Fear. Frustration. A sense of the unknown. Even one year after my stroke these emotions still creep into my life. But I had another emotion inside which I wanted to let guide me through my recovery - pride. But this sense of pride isn’t to be taken as boastful, but in being humble. I would be the first to admit that if I couldn’t do a task that I would ask for help. The thing is, I didn’t want to ask for help all the time, I didn’t want to be dependent on others. I wanted to heal.
About mid-way through my hospital stay, a nurse who was filling in for the night shift, came in to check on me and introduce herself. She made a comment along the lines of “I hear I’ll have a pretty uneventful time with you tonight.” I asked her what she meant by that and she replied, “your chart says your pretty independent. Your favorite thing to tell us nurses is ‘I got this!’”
My body and brain were starting over, everything I knew how to do and could do was erased when the stroke happened. I could describe to you in detail how to tie your shoes, but I couldn’t make my brain communicate with all the muscles and nerves on my right side to physically do it on my own. Talk about frustrating! In my mind though, the quickest way I would recover and be independent, and to show everyone that a stroke hadn’t taken away my pride, was to do as much on my own as possible.
So, when a nurse or tech would try to help me get dressed, I simply would say “I got this.” When one of my therapists would try help me in or out of the wheelchair I would say “I got this.” And when the doctor who was overseeing my inpatient care would come visit me in the mornings and ask how my day would be, “I got this!” would always shoot out of my mouth.
Fortunately, I’ve improved each and every day. At first those improvements were more noticeable, such as standing for the first time or moving my hand after it had been locked in a fist for four months. Now it’s more about fine tuning myself. I can tie those shoelaces now, it just not as quick or second nature as before. Denial. Sadness. Fear. Frustration. A sense of the unknown. Yes, those emotions still creep in on me, but that’s ok. Because the three little words that guide and drive me each day to recover from my stroke won’t change: “I GOT THIS!”
Want to help spread the word about resources available for life after stroke? Be sure to check out everything on offer for World Stroke Day.