September 6th, 2010

Now that the story has ended, I thought it would be time to give you a little back round to it which for some of my readers will possibly come as a shock. Otherwise maybe it will also be a reason for him or her to reread a chapter (or even more) to get a better view on the thoughts which lay behind each of them. There is namely a confession that I have to make now: 50 % of this story is, unfortunately, based on a true story. Mine.

How much that I hate to tell you this, but I have to do it to make this story more understandable: on March 6th, 2009 my own life has changed forever. On that day I got a stroke which had left me paralysed at the right side of my body. They rushed me to the hospital were I laid for two and a half weeks before I was transported to a rehabilitation centre here in Den Haag, Holland. There I had been for another 16 weeks having intensive physiotherapy and talks with almost every therapist you could imagine. During all these weeks I was only permitted to go back to my own home during the weekends for the last three weeks of my stay there.

When I was finally home I tried to start a "new" life which was (and still is) very hard. I wanted to do something with my experiences and to deal with the things I had forced to go through so I decided to write everything down. But how should I do that? I didn't want that it became a too personal story. After weeks of thinking I found the perfect solution. If I used the characters of one of my old time favourite series, Dempsey and Makepeace, and let one of them overcome what I had experienced myself, it would be perfect. And so the whole story started. But as time went by some more ideas for my story crossed my mind. And it became less more personal. It was then when non-fiction started to mix with fiction.

When did the reality end and the fiction started? Well all the difficulties that Harry Makepeace had to deal with after having a stroke are real, even the name of her and Dempsey's daughter isn't a fake, because she was named after the rehabilitation centre I had spend so many weeks lying in: "Sophia". But luckily I never lost a baby, had to deal with a man who was away during a pregnancy, a rape or another man who was after me. I don't have to think of that. Dealing with a stroke and to go through it on my own had been difficult enough. And for the die hearts of D&M (or shall we say Michael Brandon and Glynis Barber) I think I don't have to tell them either where the person by the name of Michael came from!

At the moment that I'm writing this introduction, exactly one and a half year has passed since the day I have had that stroke. Back then I thought I would never be able to walk anymore, to use my right arm, to move my fingers again, to write. To name some of the problems I had to overcome. If I don't do too much after each other (which is still difficult for me. I pass the limit from time to time and have to regret that later being in a lot of pain at the right side of my body) I can live a reasonable, normal life. Only walking. That's still a problem for me. And if that will ever change? Nobody can say or guarantee me that. That's the hardest part from the whole acceptation of my new life. Not been able to walk anymore in a way that was so normal before March 6th. Now I have to think by every step I make, otherwise I loose my balance or tumble down. And I'm only able to walk short distances with a stick in- and outdoors.

Well I hope I have given you all an inside look with my story about how life after having a stroke looks like. And how your life can change in just one split second. Of course, this situation is different for every person. I have seen that with my own eyes in the rehabilitation centre. The only thing I'm blessed for is that I have never lost my possibility to speak. It must have been a real nightmare when you get locked up in your body and wouldn't be able to communicate with the ones you love so much.

In conclusion there's only one thing I want to say: If you ever have to face someone who had had a stroke, don't turn your head around. But be nice, supportive and try to help him or her wherever you can. It's hard enough when you have to ask for help when you are not able to do things yourself anymore. But it becomes even worse when other people say to you: "I can hardly see anything on you. I think you are just simulating that you can't this or that yourself anymore" like Robert said to Harry in my story. It's something that hurts very, very much when you know for yourself that you came from so far already and that you still have a long, long way to go.

Writing everything down helped me a lot. And it's indeed, if I'm permitted to use Dempsey's motto here: "Life is hard... and then you die". Well in this case I'm still alive. Although sometimes I think (when the pain in my right side of my body is unbearable), shouldn't I have been better of when I had died instantly on that March 6th? But that's another story...

I thank you all for the reviews on my story. Please forgive me that I haven't react on every one of them you have given, but remember that I read all of them with great interest and that they were all very appreciated. If you like to react on my epilogue, don't hesitate to do so.

I wish you all a great and healthy 2011. Jenneke