Halloween. It is one of my favorite holidays. I went out to dinner with my girlfriends as we did every year on All Hallows. Beforehand, I bbmed away discussing how I felt and what didn't feel right. I spelled things wrong and even joked about having a slow stroke. Against advice from everyone, I still went out. I dressed up as Johnnie Walker Blue. I was particularly excited by my costume this year and wasn't going to let me feeling sick deter me from showing off my top hat, sash and cane.
My friend and I stopped at a bar before dinner where I ordered a Guinness. As an old Irish doctor once told me, Guinness cures everything. I sat and sipped about a quarter of the glass and felt as miserable as I did when I came in. Aspirin, clove, beer, did not help. Nothing tasted right at dinner. Even one of my favorite dishes, veggie moo shoo did nothing more to me than licking a metal pipe would. As I stared at the ghouls in the street at the parade, I started to feel faint and excused myself. I got home, quickly got undressed and went to sleep.
I woke up in the middle of the night to drunken costumed New Yorkers laughing wishing that I was one of them. I had a searing pain in my neck and mouth. I called the emergency Doctor's line and was assured that I wasn't in danger and to just make an appointment with my Primary Care Physician for that week. I went back to sleep. I kept waking up every hour on the hour. Nothing helped my neck pain. My headache got worse. I sat in my living room, scared and watched infomercials in the dark. I thought it was indigestion and looked up solutions online. I ate an apple and tried to sleep again.
It's still hard to believe this happened to me but the details of that day are still fresh in my mind. I can hear the voices. I can taste that feeling in my mouth. I have to admit, today, I am a little scared but also very grateful. Still I play over the days at the hospital, grasping at every memory, every instance. I try to visualize my ICU room, the exact location on my right hand where the IV was, the sound of the heart monitor attached to my left pointer finger. I don't want to forget. I shouldn't forget.
I had a stroke at 29 and I survived. It happened a year ago and I'm trying so hard to smile right now but all I can do is sit here and reflect about how far I've come. Even typing this now, I find myself becoming very emotional. I am lucky. I am VERY lucky....
Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring. You know who you are. I am forever grateful.
For pushing me to go to the doctor,
For taking me to get my blood checked,
For being concerned,
For telling me I was strong,
For encouraging me to go on,
For believing in me,
For bringing me flowers,
For making me laugh,
For being my friend,
Thank you. I am here because of you.