Stroke at 26
I suffered a massive ischemic stroke in my right parietal lobe while driving, affecting my dominant left side. The date was March 27th, 2013. A day in which I have a play-by-play, burned into my memory forever. Suddenly my vision went slamming into vertigo while driving. I still had sight, but my eyes were darting everywhere. I couldn’t figure out what was happening, but I obviously had to pull over because I couldn’t see straight. I was by trying to orient the white line from the right corner of the hood, over to the left side of the car, so that I’d be in the ditch. If there had been any obstacles on the side of the road, such as a guardrail or culvert, my story would be very different. I stopped the car, put it in park, turned it off, and turned on my hazards. I was very confused at first thinking maybe I had eaten something bad, but all I could recall was a banana about 2 hours before. I was instantly hit with hot flashes and vomiting. And more than anything at this point, I was annoyed, because I had a sale to pitch. I was sweating, trying not to mess up my hair. I did not have time to get sick. Being the problem solver that I am, I had sooo many thoughts rushing through my mind: “call to cancel the appointment,” “call to have someone come pick me up because I obviously can’t drive,” “maybe I could just lye down for a few moments and I’ll feel better so that I’ll only be a little late to the appointment.” In just a few more moments, I glanced down to see my left hand lying awkwardly in my lap. Reality came crashing in. “Nooo, I’m having a stroke!” My whole train of thought switched to survival mode. Now I was in a fight for my life against time. I was struggling to find my phone to call an ambulance. I was slumped over towards the passenger seat feeling around desperately. Finally! I found it! It took me 5 attempts to dial 911. As it rang, I was brought to a whole new fear, I can’t speak. So, I started trying to grunt, just to get a sound to come out of my mouth. I was moving my lips, but yet there was nothing. As the operator questioned the third time, my voice box blurted out, “Please Help Me!” It was the right words, but it was so slurred. Because I had sought help so quickly, I was able to receive the clot-busting drug within the three hour window. Once there, I was placed in the Neuro Critical Care Unit for 5 days until I was medically stable. I was then transferred to the rehab hospital. I was hospitalized there for another month learning how to walk, speak, write, drive, really… how to do everything all over again. I had to continue out patient therapy for three more months. Recovery was to this day, the single most difficult task I’ve ever had to endure. I was very stubborn, strong willed, and determined.I am tall, thin, healthy, athletic, and I've never smoked; yet I had a stroke. So do everything you can to take care of yourselves because, one moment you’re here, and in the blink of an eye you’re not. There's no going back to Quit Smoking, or start eating better, or make the time to exercise. Take care of You now and know your WHY.