Abelardo (Abby) Marquez was riding his motorcycle home from work in September of 2008 when he started feeling his motorcycle wobbling under him. At 60 years old, he had been riding for the better part of his life and thought, “it must be a flat”.He pulled over, inspected the tires, brakes etc. and was baffled because everything looked good. Abby was fairly close to home and decided to get back on and drive home. He arrived home safely, but was still confused about the cause of the wobble and was now experiencing a splitting headache. He decided to lie down and go to sleep.
After a short rest, he received a phone call from work, but when he tried to speak, he had trouble forming words. He sounded drunk, and that’s when his wife realized something was terribly wrong. Abby tried to get up from his bed, but as soon as he stood, he fell down. He remained conscious and was trying to understand what was going on.
Abby’s wife drove him to the VA hospital in West Palm Beach where he had been treated in the past for high blood pressure. Upon arrival, he could no longer walk and was having a hard time holding his head up. It sank into his chest. He was brought in with a wheelchair and when he asked for a drink of water, he choked on it. He began to fade in and out of consciousness. Abby had suffered a brainstem stroke.
The first time Abby heard that he had suffered a stroke was after the MRI and CT Scans. By this time, he was not able to walk, talk, and his left side seemed completely paralyzed. Emotionally, he was all over the place. He was scared and thought “what now...? Money, bills, my wife, my kids....” Abby remembers praying to God to help him recover or to take him. He was deathly afraid to be a "vegetable" and he thinks God might have heard him.
Abby was in the hospital and then a rehabilitation for 5 months during which time he had large motor therapy, balance therapy, small motor therapy, speech therapy and swallowing therapy.
He was still in the wheelchair when he left the rehabilitation center and progressed to a cane after another month.
Because of his stroke, Abby was declared disabled, and had to retake a driving test before being allowed to drive a car. Riding his motorcycle was out of the question. Diving was out of the question. Captaining a boat was out of the question…all things that Abby had regularly done before his stroke. Stroke had changed his life forever.
Today, Abby walks without assistance, albeit he gait is off, and he claims to look slow and drunk. Abby talks, but feels that his speech is also slow at times. He has trouble finding his words. He has trouble remembering things. He get dizzy easily and often, and has numbness in his right arm, hand, and leg. He tires easily, and doesn’t tolerate the sun well any more. He is sensitive to loud noises and his eye sight has deteriorated due to the partial collapse of the left side of his face. His left eye tends to droop and partially close, and he occasionally still chokes on liquids. His stroke was 8.5 years ago.
Abby’s message to people who have just suffered a stroke is FIGHT!!! Fight with all you’ve got. You may or may not win the battle but at least you know you fought and to NEVER park in a handicapped zone... You are NOT handicapped!!!
Sadly, Abelardo Marquez passed away in August of 2018 from cancer. Abby fought just as hard and lived just as large as he did after his stroke up until the very end. He will always be remembered as a fighter and warrior.