Worth a Thousand Words
Daniel Krajecki woke up one morning with a tingling feeling in his arm. He didn't think much of it—assuming he had slept on it— and continued with his morning routine. It was only after getting out of the shower that he looked in the mirror and noticed that one side of his face was drooping. Right away, he called his mom to take him to the hospital, but soon thought it was better to call 911.
Daniel had a massive hemorrhagic stroke. A stroke is caused when an area of the brain does not receive the blood it needs.Strokes can be caused by blood clots, but also by bleeding, or hemorrhaging, in the brain. Because blood-deprived brain tissue can cause serious disability or death, it is important to get the right treatment as soon as possible by calling 911.
Daniel spent that night in the Intensive Care Unit at Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph, before transferring to the Ortho/Neuro floor for the rest of the weekend.
On Monday, Daniel was transferred to Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet, where he began six weeks of inpatient rehabilitation.
"One of our acquaintances did rehabilitation there, and they had really great things to say about it, so we through it was worth trying," said Daniel.
When he arrived, Daniel found a staff that was reassuring and enthusiastic about helping him heal.
"The staff is very understanding of how you feel; emotions are crazy after a stroke," said Daniel. "I couldn't ask for a better group to take care of me. We love them; they made a difficult time really easy."
"Brian Ward, the program director, was a big encouragement," said Daniel. "He made it a point to come around and see all of the patients every day, and even did my therapy one day."
Daniel was also pleasantly surprised when Brian gave the ok for his dog, Oreo, to visit.
"The fact that Oreo came up was really helpful," said Daniel. "Oreo brightened up the whole floor. Having your dog really boosts your spirits, and makes it just like being at home."
Every morning, Daniel would see beautiful sunrises from the window in his room, and he asked if he could take some pictures to occupy his time.
A long time photography enthusiast, Daniel wanted to show the human side of stroke recovery.
"When you hear about stroke, you don't hear about who's around you. But you end up relying on everyone," said Daniel. "You need good family, friends, and caregivers to support you."
While re-learning how to walk, he took pictures of his nurses and therapists cheerleading for him. Throughout his entire experience he documented his healing process and highlighted touching moments of care from staff.
Daniel compiled all of the pictures he'd taken during his stay and presented the staff with a book at the rehabilitation reunion dinner.
"They were really excited to receive it," said Daniel. "I just can't explain how amazing they were."
Watch the video below as Daniel shares more about his story: