The day…Thursday, May 9, 2019. I awoke at 5:30 am and lay in bed, grateful for another day. I smiled, looked at the ceiling and reminded God that I had no idea what I would wear that day, but I knew He would guide me. I got out of bed and began to prepare for the day. I was ready.
After I dressed, I began to get my things for lunch. I was walking to the kitchen and my left leg became heavy and numb. I immediately knew something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t pinpoint what IT was. I came back in my room and sat on the edge of my bed, touched my leg and began to pray. I got up and determined within myself that I would go to work and I would just take my time, even if that meant I would be late.
I walked to the bus stop and waited for the first bus of the day I would take. Got on, noticed there was no change in my leg and continued to pray. Got to the metro station and waited for bus #2. Again, got on and my leg was the same and so I continued to pray. Got off bus #2 at my stop and set out to walk the 3/4 mile to the office. I took it slow and took the view as I walked. I smiled up at the sky and praise God for such a beautiful sight. The life in the trees and wildlife scampering about along the road I walk to get to work. It truly was breathtaking. And still I prayed. I believed that whatever was going on with my leg my God could heal and would heal or tell me if it was something I needed to be more concerned with. In my heart, I felt like it was a stroke, but my mind would not register it.
I opened the office and started the day. I told the first therapist, Kate, that I wasn’t feeling all that great and I didn’t know exactly what was going on. I checked in patients, set appointments, answered the phone, pulled charts for the next day and so forth. When the second therapist, Anne, came in for the day, I told her too that I wasn’t feeling all that great and explained what I was feeling. By this time (10 am), my left arm was now feeling heavy and numb. But I seriously thought that maybe I had slept wrong and a nerve was giving me a fit for doing so.
At 1 pm the therapists went to lunch and I ordered my lunch and told them that I would lay down until it was delivered. I had it in my mind that I would then eat and lay down for a bit and all would be better. I went to lay down in one of the treatment rooms and immediately jumped back up because I left my phone on the desk in the front. I thought it would be best to have it near me JUST IN CASE I would need to call for help. As I lay down the second time, the left side of my face went numb and I could feel my face drooping. I jumped up and noticed that not only was my leg heavy now, but I was literally dragging it to walk.
I called my son and told him I was calling 911 and what was going on. It was during this conversation that I KNEW it was a stroke and he said he could no longer understand what I was saying because my words were slurred. He immediately hung up and began to make his way to me. I called the therapists to tell them what was happening and since they were only a couple of blocks from me, they were able to get to me quickly and called 911. At this point, I’m dialing 911, the therapist was dialing 911, and my son was also dialing 911.
I could no longer hold up my left arm or control it, nor my leg and the tears began to roll down my cheeks as reality set in, I was truly having a stroke.
When your life is set before you in such a manner, it’s amazing the things that become clear and important to you. I didn’t think about anything I had been worried about in the previous days, weeks, or even months. My thoughts were, Lord please don’t let me die, I don’t want to leave my children and grandson, and there is still so much I STILL want to do and see in this life. Surely THIS wasn’t the end.
The paramedics rushed in and got me out of the office onto a stretcher. They got a couple of IV’s started and began to take my vitals and ask me questions. Questions that my mind knew, but my mouth refused to vocalize. And the tears dropped faster and fear set in. And yet, I continued to tell myself to remain calm and breathe.
My blood pressure never registered “stroke” high. The highest it went was 175/102 and from there it just continued to go down. The Dr. could not understand it and the CT scan showed clear. They kept me overnight to run more tests on Friday, May 10th. But for the remainder of the evening, I was given aspirin and monitored. The neurologist, the cardiologist, and the on call dr. all spoke with me, they were concerned but not overly worried. However, I knew that this marked the beginning of a different life for me. My life was officially forever changed.
And so I continued to pray…