Thursday, May 30, 2013

NOT another stroke!

On May 28, 2013, I thought I was having another stroke. The last stroke happened on January 13, 2012. So, this was a massive shock.  How could it happen again? Why? Why me? Again?

The day was normal, but I had an episode when I could not remember my last name. I could not read simple emails. I was so disappointed and terrified.  My wonderful wife tried to reassure me even though she rushed to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise

For a surreal 28 hours, I was at St. Al's undergoing tests. Pokes and prodded and given shots.

I had another MRI. Nope. That was not it which is great. During that 45 minute test, "I came back." Whatever happened, I recovered quickly.

Then, I had a "EEG" (electroencephalograph) measures brainwaves of different frequencies within the brain. Electrodes are placed on specific sites on the scalp to detect and record the electrical impulses within the brain. Negative. Also great.

So, what happened? It was not another stroke. It was not an aneurysm. It was not a seizure. So, this is great news!  Basically, “it” was my strokes from last year healing.

But, if that is great news, why am I so nervous? That bad stroke happened at 5:00 am, and 17 months later, I was on the same floor…waiting to see if it might happen again. It did not.

Maybe, I am concerned that the stroke healing will continue in a bad way?  Maybe, I am realizing that I might have another "issue."

One of the great nurses I met when my initial stroke happened 17 months ago was with me yesterday. She knows me. She looked in my eyes, and made me repeat that "I did NOT have a stroke or seizure! Repeat after me! I did NOT have a stroke or a seizure!” 

In a nutshell, she told me something like this is "a pebble in the road of my recovery journey."

I realize all of that. "This is a long road" or "I have the opportunity for a second chance."  Was yesterday a setback or was another opportunity? Two strokes in January last year, and “anomaly” yesterday? Or maybe, “three strikes and you are out?” 
Are these platitudes?

Rationally, I know that. But, this is my life and my reality.  Should I be scared?  Should I be prepared for the worst? So many “maybe’s....”


As I waited for the clock to strike 5:00 am, I thought about the book and movie "Love Story."  The wife in the story died so young.  Remember the first line of the book?  "What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach, the Beatles."

If I die too early, what would people say about me? I love my wife, Heather, and my beloved son, Ethan, my brothers, the Beatles, my family and friends, mystery novels, old black and white movies, photography, pot roast, and Russian history?

My parents had the luxury to know that they were going to die. That is an odd statement, but they did not leave anything left unsaid. So, for me, what if it happens again? Is this a second or third chance for a wake-up call to prepare that what is inevitable?

17 months. January 13, 2012 and May 29, 2013. What is the next date for my journey? Should I be running from my fate and hiding or living life with gusto?

For me, this thought is raw considering the last 36 hours. So raw.

I will not run. I will live my live to the fullest. Scared? Yup.  But I am so pissed off. God? Fate? Nothing? Whatever! I will beat this in some way. 

I will prepare for the worst, but I will not give up.

As Admiral Farragut proclaimed, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"

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