Yesterday morning my alarm went off at 6:51a, as it does every school morning. I hit the snooze button. The alarm went off again at 6:59a. As it does every school morning. However, I closed my eyes… it was so warm in my bed. At 7:03a I realized I’d dozed off, and jumped out of bed. I started going about my morning routine, and quickly realized my right arm was not working correctly.
In fact, it was limply hanging at my side, numb.
When I tried to move it I found it flailing wildly out to the side, completely uncontrollable.
I completely freaked out and ran to the phone.
I tried to dial my husband, who had left only 20 minutes earlier to head out of town for a class he needed to attend. After multiple attempts to dial the phone, each coming up with a jumble of numbers I realized I couldn’t exactly see the right hand side of the phone key pad. It was like there was a half moon dark grey haze over it, and the numbers were not visible through it.
I kept trying, and finally a number went through. I’m not sure if I actually dialed the right number because it went to an anonymous voice mail box.
I frantically changed tactics and decided to call my mom.
I managed on the third time to dial her number correctly and got through.
By this time my arm was beginning to feel normal again, and I was beginning to be able to move it more normally, however, my visual impairments were still in full swing and I was still completely freaking out.
It was just then my daughter walked in the room, as I’m in the middle of trying to stay calm enough to tell my mom what was going on. I kissed her hello, told her I wasn’t feeling well, and I really needed her to get ready for school with no arguments because we were running late and this time it was my fault. At this point I looked at the clock and it was 7:11a.
I was beginning to be able to see better, and my arm was functionally almost normally, so my mom said she’d call me back in 5 minutes to see how I was doing. (She was an hour away at work, so she couldn’t just rush over ~ one of the pitfalls of country living).
I headed downstairs, had no trouble walking, and went to the kitchen. I made Hanna’s lunch… was concerned about using a knife to cut the apple, but did it fine. At this point my vision was much better, I still had some stars in my right eye, but I could see the phone again. My mom called back while I was making lunch, I was really feeling a lot better, still fuzzy and a little out of it, but I could move my arm, and I could see again. My mom told me I needed to go see the doctor. Which is when I remembered our Doctor’s office closed and I HAD no doctor. She recommended one she’d found, and gave me the number. I wrote it down, which was a serious effort.
I was feeling completely uncomfortable with the thought of driving Hanna to school, so I decided to call a friend and see if he could drive her to school today. I had some confusion again with the phone. (Have I mentioned I hate phones?!). I had to remember how to find his number in the phone, hit the CID button instead of the DIR button, and had to do it a couple times. However, finally connected with him, and he picked her up and took her to school.
Once my daughter was out the door I took a breath. WTF was going on? I was still feeling a little fuzzy, a little unclear, and so I, of course, grabbed my computer to see what the hell was going on with my body.
I found myself thinking “right hand” and typing “left hand” and everything that kept coming up said STROKE.
WTF… I’m 42 years old. There’s no way I could be having a stroke.
I ran to the bathroom, and looked at my face in the mirror. I smiled. I frowned. My face seemed to be working just fine. I anxiously waited, and googled until 8:30 when the doctor’s office opened. They told me to come right in, and I made my way to Wellington… a 20 minute drive.
I was unable to see the doctor, and saw the PA instead. She ran me through a series of neurological tests, which I passed with flying colors. My main symptoms felt gone, but I still felt shaky and a little fuzzy on the inside. That may have been more sheer terror than anything neurological though.
It’s at this point she tells me she needs me to have a CT scan and a Corotid Doppler to check out my brain and my veins. I asked her how much it was going to cost (we don’t have insurance) and she said her best estimate would be around 3K.
Whirl Whirl Whirl, head starts to spin. I feel a little light headed.
And then this small voice came in the back of my head… that’s only one Masters sale. Yes, my home business provides me the opportunity to create a 3K commission with the sale of just one amazing product. I knew the money wasn’t really going to be an issue.
I told her I’d do it, and she filled out the papers.
I went to the hospital, next door, and found out the tests were actually only going to run around $1300. I paid half of it up front, and had them bill me the rest.
As I ran through the tests I was terrified, and couldn’t understand what the hell was going on with my body. I found myself going back to my favorite mantra… Sat. Chit. Ananda. Truth. Consciousness. Bliss. I kept saying it over and over, trying to stay calm and centered.
As I sat in the hallway, after having the CT scan the first thing that ran through my mind was… so the good news is you didn’t have a stroke. I knew, I hadn’t had a stroke. I didn’t know what the hell happened… turned out neither would the doctors.
After my tests were complete I went back to the doctor’s office for the results, and sure enough, I hadn’t had a stroke. I didn’t have a brain bleed. I didn’t have a lesion. I didn’t have a mass.
I didn’t have an answer.
I left the office feeling more than mildly annoyed. Annoyed that I didn’t have an answer. Annoyed I’d just spent all this money for basically nothing.
I drove home. Got in front of the computer again and started looking up some of the terms the PA had thrown around, it sounded exactly like a TIA, which completely freaked me out because I have no idea if it will happen again, or what will happen if it does.
In perfect Jackie style I began to imagine the worst, what if I was driving Hanna home from school and it happened? Then what? What if… What if… What if…
By the time it was time to pick Hanna up from school I was jangled ball of nerves and afraid to drive the car. But… I wanted to see her more than anything in the world. I was feeling fine, so I jumped in the car and picked her up at school.
We came home and our day went on as normal. She did her homework. We read together. She begged and begged to go outside and play in the snow. I told her to bundle up and go on out. But I didn’t go. I found myself watching from the window. Watching her have trouble getting her make shift sled to move down a teeny tiny snow drift she thought was a mountain. She was bouncing it down the hill, trying to get it to go, when she looked up at me and screamed, “I want to SLED, not BOUNCE!!!”
In that moment a voice in my head said… “Really? Are you really going to sit in the house afraid to live your life?! Get your ass out there and play with your kid!”
So I got all bundled up and ran out to play with her. I pushed her down the snowdrift, accidentally tipped her over in the snow drift, which she absolutely loved. We laughed together, got our noses red together, had hot chocolate when we came in with a smile on my face.
Right around this time, my husband walked in the door. This class he’d been dreading turned into a really good thing and he was all kinds of excited to tell me about it. We went upstairs, because I had every intention of talking about me (lol) and didn’t want Hanna to be listening.
He’s rambling on and on about all the things he learned in this class, and I’m sitting there a little dumbfounded. WTF? I just had the insanely huge, scary, terrifying, life altering thing happen to me today… uh, how ’bout we talk about that?!!
I finally said something, and he looked up and said “Well, how do you feel?”.
I replied with “fine”. Because I did feel fine. But I didn’t want to talk about how I was physically feeling, I wanted to talk about how scared I was, and how I didn’t know when this was going to happen again, and I wanted to catastrophize with my husband.
Yeah, he’s not really that kind of guy.
In that moment I could have gotten really mad. I mean really mad.
But I didn’t. I realized he’s totally right. I realized I had a decision to make. Was I going to sit here and fear my life away, or was I going to LIVE? And after all… isn’t one of my Core Desired Feelings… ALIVE?!
If you’ve ever watched Steve Austin on wrestling (omg did I just say that?!), when he would come out there would be this huge sound of glass breaking as he entered the arena.
That moment was kind of like that.
*** Glass breaking ****
And I instantly realized, all this “control” all this scheduling, all this micro managing, all this hyper vigilance does nothing for me. It does nothing but give me a false sense of security, a fair amount of anxiety and often times make me not very much fun. And in the end… it changes nothing.
We decided to go to dinner… since I hadn’t made anything in all my worry. We ran errands, we had fun, we smiled, I held my daughter’s hand tightly, remembering the feeling of not being able to hold the phone earlier that morning and wondering what it would be like to never be able to hold her hand again. We laughed, we tried on hats, we bought hats, we went to eat, I enjoyed dinner, and counted the points. (only had to use ONE of my weekly points!)
We got home well past Hanna’s normal bed time. I was not stressed, I was not freaking out that we’d missed the schedule. I helped her get ready for bed. I hugged her tight. I kissed her lots and lots and tucked her into bed, and told her I’d see her in the morning .
And I did.
I woke up today and my first thought was (is my arm working?!) and when it was I thought…
it’s a good day to be alive.
Every day brings a new decision.
Today I decide to start taking an aspirin a day, use Thieves and Panaway daily, get some Helichrysum and use it, live life and FEEL ALIVE.
What are you going to decide today?