Tyler DeMart, 31, recently spent over a month at Kevin Guest House while his 29-year-old partner recovered from a stroke. Here, here shares his story and what Kevin Guest House meant to his family, in his own words.
Around the end of September, my partner Nate had a stroke. We’re not exactly sure what the cause was. However I do know he was running himself into the ground between school, helping others, taking care of home life, and his family. Among other things. He was thought to just have a small blood
clot. We soon learned that a nerve in his brain had severed and caused hemorrhaging. Surgery was a success but scary at first. We honestly weren’t sure he would wake up. Luckily he did.
After staying at a run down hotel that my mom paid for the night Nate’s aunt told us about the Kevin Guest House. I was apprehensive at first. I wanted to be close by but wasn’t sure I could handle staying alone. The people running this establishment kindly allowed my mother and her husband to stay with me the first two nights. Without having that I’m not sure I would have been able to try and stay alone. It gave me the courage to do so. And I soon found that this guest house was more of a home.
Had I not been able to be so close during the recovery process I’m certain without wavering that my partner would not have recovered at the rapid rate he did. He has his own disorders already that do not make staying in a hospital two hours away from home easy for him. I was the one piece of home he had in all this madness and the Kevin Guest House was the place that kept me comfortable enough to be there for him. I was also allowed to stay at the hospital some nights and still have a room when I needed a break from the stale white walls. Where there was warm food, a roof over my head, and smiling faces from people that understood and empathized my situation.
The house is beautiful it makes you feel like you’re wealthy or at least it did for me. There’s beautiful architecture to the old Victorian style house. They seem to be working on it all the time to make it feel even more inviting. When I had a long day at the hospital it was nice to come back and not have to worry about anything. Above all else my favorite part of staying at the Kevin Guest House was dinner. Not just the fact that people came in to donate their time and give a free meal but spending time with other care takers and patients. Hearing their stories and sharing laughter and tears. I’ll never forget the feeling of togetherness.
Those events brought me to people that I will always cherish. There were many that I enjoyed the company of and among them came an invaluable bond I made with Ali the Resident Manager of the house. I can’t remember the exact thing that sparked a conversation between us. I can however tell you
whatever it was brought us to a nightly meeting where we would console with each other about life and sometimes we would chat about random nonsense. Ali is a kind soul, she really cares about people and is perfect for this position. Don’t be afraid to talk to her, she’s very easy to chat with. Most people usually are. Remember that the house is filled with people that understand what you’re going through and they might need an ear or have one to lend you.
I wasn’t expecting the house to be so friendly. It’s obviously a place where people go so they can be close to those they care for but I always look at places from a business prospective. Don’t do that. It’s not like business at all. They have apartments for people going through chemo therapy. If you can’t afford the fifty a night base payment they will work with your budget. People are always willing to help each other in the house including the staff. It’s a wonderful place.
I want to add something important to close with. At first optimism was not something on my mind with this situation. My partner, a 29 year old man had a stroke. Something that shocked most anyone I told. People need to stop thinking that strokes only strike the elderly. It could happen to anyone. Know the
signs and get to the hospital immediately. Do not wait. Do not let your loved one say no to a visit. It could mean their life. Thankfully we made it in time but Nate has lost parts of his brain he will never get back. He was confused and his left side wasn’t responding for weeks. Always try to be close in the recovery
process so your loved one has a shoulder, something familiar. After a long process and weeks of physical, occupational, and speech therapy, Nate is almost back to normal. He has full strength in his left side. His cognition is better and better each day and his humor is infectious. Life is too short to sit around and wait for things.
To counter all the madness and negativity we are getting married next year on his grandmother’s birthday. I cannot express how grateful I am to have been able to be his support. I wouldn’t have been able to had it not been for the Kevin Guest House. I truly believe he would still be struggling had I not been there. Thank you so much to everyone that helped me and to all of those still staying in the house and the future guests I wish you all the best recovery from the bottom of my heart. Know that you’re in the best hands there.