To have fun her fiftieth birthday, Victoria Shepherd used to be pulling out all of the stops.
She used to be in her thirtieth yr as a contract director in Toronto, so the birthday celebration would start at her newest play. Her pals would soak up a last week efficiency of “The Glass Menagerie” through her favourite playwright, Tennessee Williams.
Subsequent, the birthday celebration would transfer to her house. As visitors loved a multi-layer cake she deliberate to bake, they would be entertained through the musicians from the soundtracks to her performs. Her daughter, Vivien, would sing.
Not up to per week sooner than the development, Victoria used to be appearing Vivien a brand new steel purple lipstick she’d purchased for the birthday celebration. They have been on a touchdown between the kitchen and the again door that still served as an front to the basement stairs.
As Victoria used to be doing a bouncy “lipstick dance,” she misplaced her stability. She tumbled backward, falling down the steps.
On the backside, her head bounced off a door. Her left shoulder slammed into the door jamb. She may listen her shoulder crack.
Dazed however mindful, Victoria felt her shoulder throb. She additionally felt a lump at the again of her scalp. She could not rise up.
Vivien referred to as 911.
At a health center, medical doctors advised Victoria she did not have a concussion. However she did have a shattered shoulder that will require surgical treatment. She used to be despatched house together with her left arm in a sling and a prescription for ache drugs.
“Do not you assume it is bizarre that they are now not maintaining me in a single day with this lump on my head?” she requested her husband, Brent.
As soon as house and in mattress, Victoria vomited all night time. She additionally had a horrific headache.
The following morning, Victoria used to be mendacity in mattress, nonetheless ill to her abdomen.
“You want to get to the toilet,” Brent advised her.
Victoria sat up and put her proper leg down at the flooring.
He advised her once more to rise up.
“I’m!” she stated.
In her thoughts, she used to be upright on each ft. However her left leg used to be nonetheless at the mattress.
At that second, Brent spotted Victoria’s speech used to be slurred. The left aspect of her face used to be drooping. He knew what that supposed.
“She’s having a stroke,” he referred to as out to their son, Christien. “Name 911.”
On the health center, medical doctors advised Victoria she’d had a hemorrhagic stroke. That occurs when a blood vessel breaks and bleeds into the mind. They may now not say whether or not it used to be associated with her hitting her head or to the ache in her shoulder.
Victoria’s stroke used to be regarded as gentle to reasonable. She had no cognitive deficiencies and her speech returned to standard inside days. She did, then again, want bodily treatment for her left arm and leg.
With the birthday celebration canceled, Victoria spent her fiftieth birthday within the health center.
The mounting disappointments have been tough to soak up. But there have been indicators of development. As an example, Brent spotted that on a daily basis she may transfer slightly extra. She even began directing a play by way of video conferencing from the health center.
A couple of weeks later, Victoria used to be transferred to at least one rehab middle, after which some other. All advised, she spent 81 days in amenities.
The most important problem used to be regaining use of her shattered shoulder. Between the stroke and the complexity of the wear and tear, medical doctors opted to attend sooner than surgically repairing it.
For months she could not use it to rise up or fortify herself. Being obese did not assist, she stated. As soon as she used to be up, she needed to paintings on relearning to stroll and bettering her gait.
Victoria additionally had stroke-related incontinence, which annoyed and humiliated her.
Throughout this time, pals banded in combination to assist. On-line they posted updates and arranged a visitation agenda. Neighbors deliberate meal deliveries.
“There used to be this superb outpouring of friendship,” Victoria stated. “I suppose that used to be the most productive factor to return out of this.”
At the drawback, Victoria, who got here house strolling with a cane, felt depressed and scared. Even though medical doctors stated there used to be no indication she would have a 2nd stroke, she felt worried. She additionally used to be offended that her lifestyles had modified so enormously.