BRUCE McLean knows he may never play off scratch again but that won't stop the Orange golf professional from trying to get back to his best form.
In the meantime, the popular journeyman will work towards recovering from a stroke enough to return to coaching, including working with the Western Region Academy of Sport's squad.
"It could be a year before I start getting any sort of form," Mr McLean said.
"I'm going to start playing three holes, then six, then possibly nine and then 18 but at the moment just walking around the block tires me out."
The reason for Mr McLean's struggle was a debilitating stroke at the end of July. He went to sleep in his car waiting for an early tee-off for a tournament at Sanctuary Cove and woke up in a Gold Coast Hospital.
Mr McLean was alone and a long way from home but his Orange circle of friends quickly rallied, launching a Go Fund Me account which helped fly him back to Orange Health Service five days later where he spent another two months rehabilitating.
The stroke affected Mr McLean's balance and eyes, but thanks to his high level of fitness and the unusual nature of the stroke's impact, he was then listed for surgery at Macquarie University Hospital where an ocular plastic surgeon performed a silicon brow suspension on his left eye.
"That's why I was down there (Macquarie), I was a guinea pig for all their operations down there because they hadn't seen somebody with my stroke, somebody with only just their balance and their eyes affected.
"Normally it's hands, feet, mouth taste, the whole works. Whereas I was just as strong as anybody else really," he said.
"They were all amazed at my slow pulse rate, they raced in to give me an ECG a few times when it got down to 35 but I was still conscious and walking and doing everything and they were all thinking I should be unconscious."
The opportunity for the surgery is one of the bright aspects of Mr McLean's trauma. After the stroke he was unable to lift his eye lids but the surgery corrected that on his left eye.
"To get back to coaching and playing I've got to be able to see ball flight and what they're doing," Mr McLean commented.
He was also thankful to the stranger that found him that morning in July slumped next to his car.
"I don't know their name or anything about them but I'm grateful to them for calling the ambulance," he said.
He's also grateful to the Orange community that has raised almost $20,000 to lessen the financial impact.
"God's got a plan in this, I'll just trust God," he said.
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