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How my family dealt with a health emergency during the pandemic

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How my family dealt with a health emergency during the pandemic

Recently, in August, my husband came back from a trip to the grocery store. As he was getting ready to cook dinner for a family of six (due to the pandemic, all our four children live with us now), something seemed off with his right hand. He left red and yellow peppers in the sink, went to the living room and sat down on a wooden chair looking lost.

My son asked if he was alright. “I don’t know,” he said. His speech was slurred and the right corner of his mouth drooped a bit.

Instantly, I had a gut feeling that something was wrong with my hard-working husband. I called 911 and an ambulance took us to the Toronto Western Hospital.

Due to the current situation with the Coronavirus, we were not allowed to accompany him to the hospital. All we could do was wait anxiously for a phone call from a doctor. It was the unknown that scared us the most. The doctor confirmed our fear that my husband had a stroke caused by a blot clot in his brain and needed to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. We were relieved to hear the doctor’s words. It could be worse, we thought.

Later that night my husband called home from the hospital still struggling to talk. He told me that for a short period of time he couldn’t even see! He had worked non-stop, especially since the lockdown when our children started to live under the same roof again.

From the internet, we learned that stress can lead to a stroke. That made us all feel guilty.

The next day, we found out that one family member could actually pay a visit to the hospital. I decided to go. I wore a pretty skirt my husband had bought for me and a flowered mask – face masks have become fashion accessories these days.

Strangely, I felt a little bit romantic and even happy to go to the hospital, it almost felt like a date My husband of 32 years was lying on a hospital bed and eagerly waiting for me. I fed him chicken, green beans and rice with gloves on. We chatted for over an hour and I realized that we hadn’t talked like this for a long time. He always seemed to be in a bad mood and I had often wondered if he had irritable man syndrome. Now it made sense.

The following day, my husband was discharged from the hospital having had a good clinical response to the drug, with complete resolution of his right sided weakness and minimal aphasia. In plain language, my husband had recovered. He was home with his family and in good spirits.

Now my children not only work and study from home. They also step up and help out – doing grocery shopping, cooking lunch and dinner, and washing dishes. That is a silver lining of our terrible ordeal in this peculiar time.

[Author Gu Zhenzhen moved to Canada from China in the ’90s]

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