Steve Eighinger

I was, am and will forever be grateful

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Dec. 26, 2018 10:10 am

Admittedly, I've been a little nervous this week.

The memories are real and can be scary, too.

It was a year ago, just before New Year's, that I suffered a stroke. Life, as I had known it for more than 60 years, would never be quite the same.

I've had to adjust a number of things, but make no mistake about it, I am grateful to be able to do just that. I feel so thoroughly fortunate and blessed simply to be able to write this column that it is difficult to put into words, which considering my profession is also a bit frustrating.

There is not a day that goes by I don't think, at some point, about the time I spent in Blessing Hospital and in follow-up care with Quincy Medical Group.

I lost a great deal of memory immediately after the stroke, but again, I am incredibly grateful. A year later, my memory is still not 100 percent, but I'm getting closer every day. And it's a gazillion times better than I thought it would ever have been when looking back at some long, frightening weeks in January and February.

When I was released to come home, I remember walking into my living room, sitting in my favorite chair and not being able to remember how to turn on the television.

And I remember my wife, Kathy, fighting back the tears. She was uncertain what the future held.

So was I.

That same day, I went into my beloved mancave and sat down in front of my computer. I had no idea what to do. Absolutely none.

But slowly, and ever so surely, I began to connect the dots. Our kids -- Geoff, Sarah, Kaysi and Melissa -- played invaluable roles helping me on what was an extended return trip to normalcy.

And Kathy? I know how worried she was and how she always knew when I tried to hide the bad days and tell her everything was fine when it really wasn't.

It's hard to accurately describe or illustrate the frustration of knowing something or someone, yet be unable to remember who or what it is. I have learned a new degree of patience.

When I was able to return to work a few months after the stroke my friends at The Herald-Whig were especially helpful. They could sense when there was a problem in my early days back, and would often slip over to my desk and ask if they could help.

I will never forget those days, or their kind words and deeds.

Incredibly, I had a good friend back in Ohio, also named Steve, who suffered a stroke at almost the exact time I did. He has had a much more difficult recovery, and I think about him every day, too.

As you might guess, Tuesday was a very merry, and a very special, Christmas in our house. There were a lot of smiles and unsaid words.

I don't mind thinking about or being reminded of what happened a year ago. In fact, I always smile when I find myself looking back, because it reminds me of how grateful I was, am and will forever be.