In just a few seconds - without warning - a stroke can shatter the life of its adult victim and radically affect the unsuspecting family. Confused, frightened, and completely unprepared, family members suddenly find themselves in the role of caregiver. What exactly happened? What to do? What to expect? Where to turn for help? How to cope? The questions come fast and furious but answers are hard to find. "After the Stroke" is the compelling account of Evelyn Shirk's courageous struggle to face these questions and to find her own answers as she accepted the challenge of caring for her husband, a victim of multiple strokes. At 61, Jay Shirk was a successful scholar with a bright and productive future - until he experienced a mild stroke, an 'ischemic attack'. During the next seventeen years, Evelyn, a professional scholar herself, faced the fear and uncertainty of never knowing when or if there would be another 'episode'.
Her life became a roller-coaster ride of mixed emotions reaching new highs and lows as she and Jay began the hard, but rewarding, work of rehabilitation and recovery, only to see their progress dashed by the debilitating effects of subsequent strokes, further aggressive treatment, and eventual nursing home placement. "After the Stroke" chronicles the twists and turns of a white-knuckle ride that tested Evelyn's endurance, patience, and ingenuity as she faced tough choices and overcame the challenges of caring for a spouse whose helplessness increased with each new attack. Hers is a frank, yet uplifting account, a testament to the courage and determination of patients and caregivers who struggle each day to maintain dignity and quality of life.