Most of us go about our daily lives, not really appreciating how precious it is. We take life for granted and go about our daily routines without it ever crossing our minds that our lives could change in an instant.
Life can change so quickly as we learned this week…
Living on the Greek island of Zakynthos, we see lots of tourists coming over to spend their summer holidays basking in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun. And over the years, we have forged firm friendships with some of the regular tourists.
One such friend is a chap called Jim. Jim has been coming out on holiday twice a year for as long as I can remember and we got to know him when he used to pop in and enjoy a couple of beers in the bar we owned. We no longer have the bar, but we still make a point of meeting up with Jim for a drink at least once whilst he is out here on his holidays, we usually meet up with him and spend a couple of hours catching up and having a laugh.
How Jims life changed…
Jim arrived on his holidays, seemingly fit and healthy, two weeks ago. Yesterday he was flown back to the UK by air ambulance, after suffering a stroke whilst lying by the pool of the apartments where he was staying. He always comes on his holiday alone, but over the years he has made plenty of friends, and luckily it was one of those friends who stopped by his sunbed for a quick chat who noticed that he was not right.
At first she thought he had fallen asleep with his eyes open, but it didn’t take long for her to realize that he was unwell and got help for him, ultimately saving his life.
He was taken to the hospital where it was confirmed that he had suffered a bad stroke. He was unable to eat, drink, communicate or move the right side of his body and only had limited movement on the left side. At that point things were not looking good for him and the Doctors weren’t holding much hope that he would survive….That was just over a week ago, so he did survive, but at the age of 75, his life will probably never be the same as it was.
Whilst in hospital here, Jim did regain the ability to swallow liquids and was managing to eat yogurt. He seemed fully aware of what was going on around him and was getting frustrated by the fact that he could not communicate. Hopefully with a lot of hard work and rehabilitation he will regain some level of independence and communication; with any luck he will regain everything, but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.
As he was stretchered to the ambulance for his journey home, we told him that we will be waiting to see him next May – October when his next holiday is booked for maybe a little too ambitious! Even if he cannot come unaccompanied, we are sure he will be back one day.
Jim had had warning signs of an impending stroke…
Apparently before flying out for his holiday, Jim had been getting niggling pains in his neck and problems with his vision. But not wanting anything to get in the way of his holiday he decided to ignore the signs, come on his holiday and see a Doctor when he got back from his holiday – unfortunately things didn’t go quite to plan.
I wonder now if Jim is kicking himself for not visiting the Doctor. He may have had to postpone his holiday, but he may well have avoided having a full blown stroke. That’s neither here nor there now, but the rest of us can take note and hopefully learn from Jims’ mistake.
How it got others thinking…
It really bought home to me how quickly and unexpectedly life can change. I do try not to let the things that don’t matter get to me, but now I will be trying even harder. What if I miss out on what really does matter while I am busy worrying about the things that don’t?…It’s just not worth it, life is too short.
Another lady friend of Jims’, who is a little on the large size, has vowed to do something about her weight. She isn’t very tall, but is almost as wide as she is tall and I got the impression that her Doctor had already advised her to do something about her weight. I hope that she succeeds in trimming down and getting healthier.
Jims’ best friend, who flew out to be with him, was also left shell shocked at how Jims’ life has been changed and vowed to start taking his own health seriously.
Maybe some good can come of Jims’ stroke…
I am sure that if Jim could go back in time he would do things differently, but the sad fact is that what has happened cannot be undone. Saying that though if him suffering a stroke, raises awareness in his friends and family, then that is the silver lining to his situation.
None of us liked seeing him like that, but it did bring home to us our own mortality.
Let Jims story be a lesson to you too…
There are a number of lessons that can be learned from Jims story:
- Life can change in the blink of an eye.
- Don’t ignore it when your body is trying to tell you that all is not right.
- Always take out insurance when you go on holiday, no matter how expensive you think it is! Without it Jim would never have got the care he got and would not have had an air ambulance back to the UK if he had not taken out holiday insurance.
- Assess what is really important in your life and ‘let everything else go’.
- Look after your health, it is precious.
Has your life been changed by an unfortunate incident? What message would you give to others?
Please share your comments below.
Copyright © 2014 Debbie Roberts
© 2014, Debbie. All rights reserved.