By John Yurgens
Many of you may know my story if you have read my bio in Blue Water Healthy Living (BWHL).
There is nothing funny about having a stroke, let alone surviving one. There are humorous situations that arise, and we must be able to laugh at them and ourselves.
I utilize the Blue Water Area Transit (BWAT). It provides me with my independence and freedom. I, as a result of my stroke, am legally blind; I lost my left peripheral vision. Many of the drivers are aware that I had a stroke, and they look out for me.
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One afternoon I was at the north transfer point (Home Depot in Fort Gratiot, MI) and I stepped off the bus and started walking toward my next bus. I heard a voice off to my left, “Hey John, how you are doin’ today?” I recognized the voice but couldn’t recall the name of the person yelling. Another deficit, my memory is bad. The person got right in my face and asked, “Can you see me now?” We both laughed, I said, “At least I can laugh about it. Either I laugh about it, or if I didn’t laugh, I would cry. I could cry from sunup to sundown and it wouldn’t change a thing. Besides laughing is much more fun.”
I occupy my time writing and volunteering three days a week at Lake Huron Medical Center, (formerly Mercy Hospital). I work primarily with stroke survivors and I try to offer support, encouragement, and hope.
Of course, being a smart aleck, if I can get someone to laugh while laying in a hospital, it’s a good day.
One day a nurse mentioned there was a young patient (she was in her early 30’s; okay young to me) who was recovering from a craniectomy (brain surgery). I warned her that I was a smart aleck.
We talked awhile when she noticed my Central Michigan University (CMU) Shirt I was wearing and she asked if I had gone to Central. I said, “Yes and we won’t discuss how long ago it was that I was there before you started there.”
We both laughed. We discussed my craniectomy. She said, “You had brain surgery? So did I, see.” She parted her hair to show her scar. I said, “What, if I show you mine, you show me yours?” Again, loud boisterous laughter rang out from her room.
Soon it was lunch time and I told her I had to go — I couldn’t interfere with her lunch. As I turned to leave, she said, “Wait, before you go, I need to tell you something. Just meeting and talking with you, I feel so much better.”
I fought off the tears while walking away, and I thought, “Who is providing the encouragement?” I don’t look for feedback like this. I won’t turn it down as rare as comments like these are, but it humbles me when they do come along.
I volunteer for the tranquility and peace of mind I get from helping another human being.
John has a unique, and interesting story that cannot be condensed into such a small space. To read his full biography article about his family, his unfortunate stroke and how he found comfort and therapy in writing… click here.
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