Wade Mitchell spent seven weeks at Saskatoon City Hospital’s Rehab Ward.
Wade Mitchell’s life is paved with good fortune. It’s a life he appreciates because he almost lost it.
“It was the long weekend of August, 2006,” Wade recalls. “I went to sleep Friday night and didn’t wake up.”
His wife, Karen, thought he was just sleeping in. Near noon she tried waking him but couldn’t.
“She called an ambulance and I was taken to RUH emergency, where they determined I had a bilateral brain stem stroke,” Wade says. “I was there for 10 days, in a coma for three.”
The first step in Wade’s recovery happened at Saskatoon City Hospital, where he spent seven weeks as an inpatient on the Rehab ward. “It was like starting over with a blank page. I couldn’t walk, talk, or write. I was confined to a wheelchair and needed help to do everything.
“They gave me a timetable for recovery but I couldn’t read it,” he says. “I was in pretty tough shape but my biggest concern was that, at 49, my career was over.”
It was hard to be a patient. “Every day was the best day of my life yet every day was the worst,” Wade says, tearing up. “It was the best because my daughter and wife visited every day. The worst part was seeing them leave. I hated that. It made me more resolved to get better.”
Wade initially spent two hours daily in therapy. “I said we had to do more because I had to get back. I could see in their eyes they knew I wasn’t going anywhere. I told them I just needed to work harder. So they ramped up my therapy to six hours a day.”
Wade visited Saskatoon City Hospital and private rehab clinics as an outpatient for about two years. “It took a year and a half to become whole again. There probably was an easier way to do it but I was stubborn.”
He returned to work within six months but realizes he shouldn’t have. “My short term memory was gone. I couldn’t remember basic things – not just the password for the alarm system but also what it was and why we had it.
Ten years later, Wade notes other lingering effects. He’s lost control of his body temperature and is always cold. He also has myoclonus, a condition that causes involuntary muscle jerks and requires medication.
He reports positive changes. “I let people do things for me. It took a stroke for me to realize what we do is not who we are. I hope I live to be 90 because I am blessed.
“I love life more today than I did seven years ago because I’m waking up on the right side of the green grass. Every day is precious.”
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