■ BY MARCY SHORTUSE
In the early morning hours of Monday, May 20, Jennifer Goslowski woke up to find her boyfriend, Chris Zink, next to her having a seizure. It wasn’t his first, but the frequency he had them was rare so she kept watch over him, unable to sleep. A few hours later when he tried to get up and shower to go to a golf game, Jennifer told him it just wasn’t a good idea.
“He wouldn’t listen, all he could seem to think about was playing golf,” she said. “That wouldn’t be unusual, except he seemed very confused and a little aggressive. He just wasn’t right, and seemed to have a loss of movement on one side of his body.
“But when someone is 36, you don’t think about the fact they might have had a stroke.”
In fact, that was exactly what happened. Aside from the fact that Chris had an occasional seizure since he was involved in an accident when he was younger, he was very healthy and active … and that was what had Jennifer puzzled when she tried to interpret his responses that morning. She eventually called his mother to come over, and they decided he needed to be seen at the hospital. Chris was taken to Englewood Hospital, and hours later ended being flown to Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg where it was confirmed he had a stroke.
On Wednesday, May 22 Chris seemed to be much better, and was on anti-inflammatory drugs to keep the swelling in his brain down. The next day, though, the swelling dramatically increased and he was scheduled for a craniectomy.
Chris made it through that very difficult surgery with flying colors, and has since had a tracheostomy so he can breathe without being intubated.
While Chris is the life of the party in his ward at the hospital, he has a very long road ahead of him.
“We are so grateful for what has happened in the last week,” Jennifer said. “Just two days after this happened his family and I were sitting in a parking lot with two options in front of us – that he would be paralyzed and in a wheelchair or he would be in a vegetative state. So we are very lucky to be where we’re at now.”
Chris and Jennifer have both worked at The Gasparilla Inn & Club, and many from The Inn are working hard to help them in any way they can. In fact, the community response to a gofundme.com has overwhelmed them.
Chris does have insurance, but the cost of losing not only his paycheck but Jennifer’s as well is already hitting them hard.
That is why the account has been set up in Chris’s name.
If you can help in any way, go to gofundme.com and search “Chris Zink,” or go to gofundme.com/mvc.php?route=homepage_norma/search&term=chris%20zink.
“I want to get the word out about what happened, not just because we are in need of help but because this was so scary … I don’t want others to go through what we just went through,” Jennifer said. “If you feel something is off with your body, please go get checked out. This proves that even someone so young and healthy can have major, life-threatening problems.”