08 July 2007 by Published in: General News 7 comments

I am back home in Columbus. I had pressing client business, and without having had the luxury of being able to plan to be away, there were things I couldn’t reschedule too well. So, we made the decision that I would fly back today, spend three days in the office taking care of what needs to be done, and then fly back to Philadelphia on Thursday, so that I can take care of some business matters for my dad. Susan and I will then drive home a week from today. She’s going to stay with my mother all week just to make sure that somebody’s keeping an eye on her and helping her out as much as possible.

My father had a serious dominant side cerebral hemorrhage on Wednesday morning. Fortunately, my mother recognized that the trouble he was having finding words was a significant problem and called 911. The paramedics got there quickly, and my parents are lucky enough to live just five minutes from a level-one trauma center, meaning that the hospital has a well-established protocol for elderly stroke victims. Within thirty minutes of the first symptoms, he was in a CT scan, determining the size and extent of the bleed.

The bleed was far enough to the outside that it did not affect his central nervous system. He never lost consciousness. The neurosurgeon told me that normally when he sees a bleed this large, the patient comes in in a coma and often never wakes up. Luckily, my father never lost consciousness, so he never had to go on a respirator or anything like that. He was always breathing on his own. He’s doing well enough that he was transferred out of the ICU and to the stroke unit 48 hours after the stroke. He’s alert, he’s communicative, he still has his sense of humor, and he’s eating. He’s definitely still in there. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that he has some very significant deficits on his right side. He’s having a LOT of trouble speaking. Some things he says are crystal clear, but others are completely unintelligible. He struggles very hard to find words and sometimes can, but most times can’t. He spent two whole days trying to ask me to do something for him until I finally figured out what he was asking me to do. It’s incredibly frustrating for him, and that’s tough to watch.

He also has some significant paralysis on the right side. His right arm was completely paralyzed until yesterday, when he suddenly got some movement back. He overdid it, though, and tired himself out and can’t do as much today. His right leg also has a major deficit, but he was able to bend the knee to 45 degrees repeatedly yesterday, and could also flex his toes and even press forward a little bit. These things ebb and flow. He will have good days like yesterday and setbacks like today, and we just have to learn to roll with the punches.

Only time will tell. The blood has begun re-absorbing, but it’s going to be some time–probably several months–until we know what the permanent result is. I seriously doubt he will be able to go home; since the docs expect he will be wheelchair bound, he will probably have to spend the rest of his days in a nursing home. But, at least he’s still with us. My mother is not in great health, either–in fact, she has lots of physical problems of her own. She’s very dependent on my father, and I really don’t know how she’s going to manage on her own. I suspect we’re going to have to look for a care facility where they can be together.

I’m an only child, and I live 400 miles away. I also have a business to run with clients who very much rely upon me, so I need to be here most of the time. Likewise, Susan’s in the process of starting up a business, so she can’t afford to be away for extended periods, either. The distance means that there’s only so much I can do. This is going to be an ordeal the likes of which I have never experienced and don’t know what to expect.

I want to thank everyone for the good wishes and expressions of support posted here. They’ve meant more to me than I can hope to describe, and I want you all to know how much I appreciate them. While I think my father is out of danger, please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Scridb filter


  1. Sun 08th Jul 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Glad to hear that there is some good news to share my friend. We had an open “call to prayer” at service today, so your father had a few hundred, sweaty, southern Presbyterians praying for him. It is good to see that you have a good sense of family and priorities and I am sure that you and your wife will continue to rise to the occasion. May the Lord continue to watch over all of you during this time and we’ll continue to pray for the entire family down here in Fredericksburg. Try to get some rest yourself and we’ll all be here for you whenever you come back. Anything you need that I can assist with from afar – just ask. God bless friend.

  2. Scott Mingus
    Sun 08th Jul 2007 at 8:05 pm


    For what it’s worth, there is hope. My Mom suffered an extremely similar stroke in 2003, nearly dying. I did the reverse of you, rushing across the turnpike from central PA to central Ohio to be with my elderly father while Mom was in the hospital. Now, four years later, she’s still very much alive, in considerably better health, has regained much of her movement and speech, and leads a decent quality of life, although now in a nursing home. The doctors in Zanesville did a great job.

    You will be in my prayers. I certainly have plenty of sympathy and understanding for being so far away from elderly parents.

    Prayer and meditation helps. You have been and will continue to be in my prayers, partner.

    regards from York.

  3. Lanny Thomas Tanton
    Sun 08th Jul 2007 at 8:32 pm

    Dear Eric,

    I rejoice with you over any good news you get regarding your parents. I, also, have mentioned you in my prayers. Please keep us posted as you have the opportunity. I will continue to pray for you and your family.

    I was touched by Susan’s efforts to help your parents. You married well, my friend. As I tell all the men in the church, cherish and honor your wife. What was it that King Lemuel said? “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels” (Proverbs 31:10)

    Amid all of this, what the Bible calls “the cares of this world”, we, your friends, understand that you may not be able to continue to write in your blog with the same regularity or detail. We will wait with you. Family is important.

    Best wishes always,

  4. David (Billy Yank)
    Sun 08th Jul 2007 at 9:01 pm

    Eric, you are definiely in the prayers of many. I hope all will be well with both your mom and dad, as well as your family. Keep up hope. Back when my grandmother was staying with us, when I was in high school, she had a stroke, and my step-father did, as well, around that same time. Both recovered very well, and I most definitely pray the same for your dad. I’m glad you’re surrounded by a caring wife, and definitely do not hesitate to reach out to the rest of your family and friends. Best wishes.

  5. Jack Dempsey
    Sun 08th Jul 2007 at 10:03 pm

    Eric, perhaps these ancient words of solace can help:
    But in my distress I cried out to the Lord;
    yes, I prayed to my God for help.
    He heard me from his sanctuary;
    my cry to him reached his ears. (Psalm 18:6)
    I took my troubles to the Lord;
    I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer. (Ps 120:1)

  6. Mon 09th Jul 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Thank the Lord for the good news Eric. I will continue to pray for your father’s speedy recovery and for your stamina in assisting him.


  7. Roy Archbell
    Wed 11th Jul 2007 at 9:09 am

    We are praying for the best.

    Roy & Charlie

Add comment


Copyright © Eric Wittenberg 2011, All Rights Reserved
Powered by WordPress

Warning: substr() expects parameter 3 to be long, string given in /home/netscrib/public_html/civilwarcavalry/wp-content/themes/wittenberg/footer.php on line 54