Joe Schwappach | CaringBridge

Joe Schwappach

First post: Apr 4, 2018 Latest post: Jul 11, 2018
Joe is a very active husband, father, and friend.  Two weeks ago Joe injured his arm by tearing a tendon in his left arm.  He decided to get it fixed rather than lose a large percentage of strength in that arm.  One week ago we made our way to the hospital for an easy-to-fix, tendon repair.  It was scheduled as an outpatient surgery. In the waiting room it seemed to be lasting a bit longer than what I was told.  I received a call in the waiting room telling me that Joe was extra sleepy and was just having a hard time waking up...it would just be a little longer.  Again, time seemed to drag on.  Finally, a doctor came to talk to me and give me news that I never would have imagined in a million years.  He started by saying that Joe was not waking up, even after given meds to counter the anesthesia.  He went on to say that he hasn't seen him move his right arm or right leg, nor had he even looked in the direction to the right. Again, I listened intently, but still not sure what they were trying to say.  Then the word "stroke" was uttered.  I sat in total disbelief.  Joe was young and healthy. That only happens to older people, right? I still thought it was a stretch...they were overreacting.  The doctor said that he was going to be consulting with neurologists and if a stroke was indicated, they would be transferring him to a different hospital. A stroke indeed was confirmed.  They came to get me and his parents before the transfer. I will never forget my first sight of Joe.  The lively, funny man that I love was not staring back at me.  He was vacant and confused. My heart broke in a million pieces at that moment.  There was no overreaction.  Our lives, indeed, were changed forever. 


I rode with Joe over to SLU Hospital  They had the best neurologists that would be able to help Joe.  Joe wasn't speaking or hardly moving.  He was confused and in pain from his arm surgery. I sat helplessly watching in the emergency room for 7 hours.  He was finally admitted into the Intensive Care Unit.  It was two days before I heard him utter his first word, which was music to my ears.  It was four days before he was able to take a single bite of food.  I started to see a determination in Joe's eyes.  Every single day since then I have seen Joe make gains.  He would never be satisfied with his current condition.  I knew eventually he would get out of the hospital and we would have to decide on a rehab facility.  I was trying to figure out how I would take care of the kids, work, and get over to "St. Louis" to his rehab.  That is when I realized that he wouldn't be staying in St. Louis.  Again overwhelmed by news that they wanted to send him to a Center of Excellence facility.  All of the facilities were out of state.  However, when I heard what Joe could accomplish at one of these facilities, I knew he just HAD to go.  We would make it work some how, some way.  


We decided on Madonna, a rehab facility in Omaha, Nebraska.  We are here and I am excited to see all of the opportunities Joe will have.  I have created this site so that all of Joe's friends and family can follow his journey, as well as give him words of encouragement.  We are believing for a complete and total restoration.  Joe 2.0 - bigger and better!



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