They say, “TIME IS BRAIN,” to underline the importance of getting to an Emergency Room as soon as symptoms start!
Before Monday, I believed this statement to be true . Now, I know it is true and essential if you want the symptoms reversed completely and your life back as it was before the STROKE!
It is my hope that this story, written through the eyes of someone who suffered an acute stroke on Monday, and is writing this post on Thursday, will help someone, somewhere, go for help as soon as symptoms start!
I believe that we all know the symptoms, which have been repeated over and over in a zillion forwarded emails and posts. I also know that now, that I experienced a stroke, NOT all of the symptoms I remembered were present, but the ones who were present were overwhelming and scary, so scary, that I could understand why one would not want to believe something so terrible is happening to them and would want to wait.
I was driving to an appointment on a road I knew well, yet, it seemed narrower than I remembered it, as the cars coming from the opposite direction seem to come towards me. I wondered why there were so many bad rivers on the road! I was going in 20 miles a hour and the engine was making a funny noise… or perhaps the noise was in my head? Something was wrong, I knew it, but didn’t know what.
Instead of going to my appointment, I went home listening to my gut feeling and not to my brain which was telling me I should not miss my appointment!
I barely made it in front of my house, and stopped the car in the middle of the road, blocking traffic!
Thankfully, my friends and neighbors, Jessica and Aram were on the porch.
I sat there, in the driver’s seat, in the middle of the road, disoriented.
Not that I remember the events, but they told me later what happened…
What I DO remember, is that my friends came to the car’s window and I wanted to tell them something was wrong. When I tried to articulate my thoughts, which were clear in my head, my words came out slurry, and I had no control over them!
I felt as if I was in a bubble, and the words were forming just right inside the bubble, but when I wanted to push them through the walls of the bubble, somehow, they had a mind of their own, were not listening to me anymore. I tried to stand up, but my entire body felt like jello and I fell back on the seat!
I WAS NO LONGER IN CONTROL OF MY MIND OR BODY! IN AN INSTANT MY RAPIDLY DYING BRAIN REMEMBERED SOME OF THE SYMPTOMS OF STROKE,
“I HAVE A STROKE! PLEASE TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL NOW! I asked Aram, and off we drove!
Pinnacle Harrisburg Campus is 5 minutes away from our home and we arrived in the Emergency Room only 15 minutes from when I noticed the symptoms.
So… now we were in the E.R. of a major hospital!
LESSON # 1:
GO TO THE HOSPITAL AS SOON AS YOU NOTICE ANY SYMPTOMS!!!
THIS WAS NOT ENOUGH!!!
ONCE AT THE HOSPITAL, TELL SOMEONE IMMEDIATELY, YOU ARE HAVING A STROKE!!!
I was lucky Aram stayed with me and “translated” the mambo jumbo” coming out of my mouth. One non-medical employee uttered the opinion that I might speak like that because I had an accent. Aram assured the person I was a well-educated person, who published a book, and I speak English fluently when I AM MYSELF.
IF YOU HAVE AN ACCENT, MAKE SURE UNEDUCATED HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES, ARE SOMEHOW INFORMED SLURRED WORDS ARE NOT AN ACCENT BUT A SYMPTOM OF STROKE AND TIME IS BRAIN!
At last, I was in a hospital room in admissions, and all I remember is a crowd of medical professionals assessing me and my effort to spit out words and all that came out were letters flying in every which direction and refusing to form the words I ordered!
ACCEPT YOU ARE COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL!
I HAD TO TRUST IN GOD AND OTHERS AND HOPE THEY WILL SAVE MY LIFE! NOT EASY TO DO FOR SOMEONE WHO TOOK COMPLETE CONTROL OF HER LIFE MANY YEARS AGO! SUDDENLY I REALIZED I WAS NOT IN CONTROL!!! I HAD TO LET GO OF THAT ILLUSION!!!
Dr. O. Agbe- Davies, a Pinnacle neurologist, entered the exam room, and as out of it as I was, I do remember he had a cool bow tie! He saved my life!
I was thirsty. My lips were cracked, my throat on fire. I bargained for a sip of water, even a swabs soaked in water, but none of my begging tricks worked! Now I understand it was for a good reason, as my stomach should have been empty in case a procedure was necessary.
After all my neurological exams failed to be normal Dr. Davis told me because I came immediately after the symptoms started I was a candidate for a powerful clot buster, tPA. This miracle medication COMPLETELY REVERSED MY SYMPTOMS!
Thanks to the many factors that worked together, a miracle happened and I am myself again, resting at home and writing this post because I feel, if ONE person goes to the hospital in time to reverse all the symptoms, I didn’t waste my time.
This is a story written after I stepped into my LIFE again, after the confining bubble I experienced while having an ACUTE STROKE was busted by the miracle medication, tPA!
I am taking this opportunity to thank Dr. Davis and the wonderful staff in the Intensive Care Unit of Pinnacle Harrisburg Hospital.
I am also thankful for Aram, who took me to the hospital and helped the hospital staff decipher the mambo jumbo coming out of my mouth, and Jessica and her dad, who picked me up on discharge.
I am thankful for my friend Melissa, who on her birthday, went to feed my dogs and African Grey, and Dee, who helped with the entire operation of entering my house.
Oh! I forgot to mention, Duke is a guard dog, and no one dares enter his territory, so feeding them and letting them out was a complex operation which required courage!
Thank you also to my friends Christine and the Martins for always being so thoughtful.
TIME IS BRAIN! THE LONGER YOU WAIT THE MORE BRAIN CELLS DIE BECAUSE THEY ARE DEPRIVED OF OXYGEN!
YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL, GOD IS, AND THE DOCTORS AND HOSPITAL STAFF!
PLEASE SHARE AND SAVE A LIFE!