Today, I have a guest post by former CA Senator Omer Rains, legislator and world humanitarian, whose book, "Back to the Summit", relates his amazing physical and spiritual recovery from a near fatal stroke. Though he writes of his own challenge, his message regarding attitude adjustment and new goals can give strength and hope to those facing any serious life challenge.
Attitude Adjustment and the New Goals
I am Senator Omer Rains. I had a debilitating stroke and brain aneurysm at the age of 61, but it did not keep me down--and it will not keep you down either if you do not allow it. When I left the hospital, I was transported to my home in Carmichael, CA via ambulance. I was still unable to walk and, as a result, they carried me up to my second floor bed on a stretcher.
Friends and family saw the frail shell of my former self.
My stroke and aneurysm left my body severely impaired, but--thankfully--my speech was mostly normal. As my good friend George came to visit, there was not much that needed to be said. I didn't have to tell George how emasculating it was to have to be bathed and fed by a paid caregiver, who came by for a short time each day. She did all she could to help me feel as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.
But, comfort wasn't what I had in mind. As I lay, trapped in my bedroom, I resolved to regain my strength and be on my feet in a month. And, after that, I would take on work to be capable of doing all the things that George and I used to do before the aneurysm and stroke: hitting the tennis courts, taking to the ski slopes, and biking trails of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
HeartHealthyWoman.org offers observations that aren't just for women on this front. Their stroke recovery guide notes, "Having goals for your recovery and a plan for how to meet them is essential to a successful recovery from stroke."
But it's more than just setting goals, it's about evaluating your current situation and using that knowledge to set short term goals that build up to long term goals. "Setting short-term and long-term goals will help you to motivate yourself to take the initiative to develop new abilities, activities, and interests, which is good for both your recovery process and your peace of mind." As I took stock of my own situation, my friend George offered encouragement. "The body will recover itself," George said. "And with your strength and your determination, you're going to come out of this and be stronger than ever, Omer. I know what a fighter you are. I know how determined you are. You'll do it. I did it, and you'll do it, too."
George knew that when I said I would walk again in thirty days, I would do it or die trying. I had already set two simple goals for myself:
No matter what the doctors said, I would walk again.
I would live to help others.
I am proud to say that I have reached both of those goals.
During my recovery, I started writing "Back to the Summit" and finally finished it just before beginning work with READ Global to build libraries and economic development projects in Bhutan and Nepal. I hope you will read it and that it will be an inspiration to you.