I left our house on Tuesday July 16 at 12:50 am like usual on a 12 hour day. I badged in at 1:53 am went to my locker to put my keys and redbull up saying “hi” as I past the night shifters going to the cafeteria for their lunch break. I was scheduled to work in the “clean room” that is a area that is environmentally controlled, mostly germ free and if anything breaches that cleanliness we have to do what is called a “full clean” where we clean the entire area top to bottom with Clorox and isopropanol. So I go into our “gowning room” grab a bonnet make sure all my hair is secure (we can not wear make up, fingernail polish, very strict clothing policy) next I grab a surgical gown while I am chatting with the day workers that have also came in early. I grab my bootie shoe covers and sit on a stainless steel bench to put them on (we have a line on the floor marked off for a “clean side” and a “dirty side”) you put one on then place your foot on the clean side then put the other on and do the same. I remember one of the girls sitting on the bench across from me and as she is putting her booties on she is talking to me but it sounded like when Charlie Browns parents would talk to him. I couldn’t understand her so I just smiled we both stood up and sanitized our hands and went into the clean room area to start our work day.
Once inside the clean room everything is sterile from the computer cords to the clock on the wall. I remember walking and my right leg felt heavy…”oh great…this again” my toes are now tingling..I sit down on a stainless steel stool to try to maybe breathe and meditate my way through this episode. Next goes my arm my fingers tingling Luke they were asleep. This has been happening off and on since about May, my physician is aware and I was scheduled for some testing and started a new medicine 2 weeks prior. As I am sitting there I start to see zig zags of light in both eyes…”well this is new”, so I stand up to find one of my friends to give her heads up that I feel off today. As I stand my head is now tingling the entire room is moving, I Frankenstein stomp walk until I find my friend Brenda holding onto the wall with every step. When I find her I can now feel myself blinking non stop and my right cheek feels swollen and numb. Instantly she asks if I am ok, in my mind I know what I want to say but as I open my mouth to speak I can not get the words out I am talking like porky pig.
My sister lives about 5 minutes from where we work and my mom lives about 15 minutes away so I finally get out the words for her to call my mom and sister either one to take me to the hospital that something is not right. She helps me walk into the gowning room to sit on the bench because if I were to fall onto the clean room floor they would have to do a full clean and everyone hates doing those unscheduled cleans. It is now after 3:30 am and of course my sister is asleep she has 2 little ones and my mom is a heavy sleeper that puts her phone on silent. So I have her call my husband and we live over a hour away. Now I have about 3 people around me I can’t talk they are all staring at me asking if I’m ok the right side of my face looks like it’s melting off. I hear the overhead ding for the first responders “great just great” I do not like attention or to be weak I am a strong independent woman and a leader I can not be down. I now have a crowd around me of first responders and volunteer firefighters that are trained in first aid. They keep asking my name and date of birth what day it is where I am at. My brain is saying it but I have no idea what if anything is coming out of my mouth. I hear “the ambulance is on it’s way”.
I was raised Baptist and since I guess my “title” is non-denominational. I believe in god I believe in heaven and hell. Now if you are reading this and you don’t have the same beliefs please don’t judge me. I do not judge anyone or tell them they are wrong. I have friends that are atheists, family that is Presbyterian and so on but I respect them and they respect me. As I’m being loaded into the ambulance I don’t remember what they are saying and what I am saying I don’t remember the IV that has really done a bruising number on my arm. All I remember is praying that my kids know I love them, my granddaughters, my husband, my family and friends. I’m out of the ambulance and into the ER…they are showing me pictures in a book that I have to say what they are, what my name is, my date of birth, my birthday etc. They test my blood sugar 88..not bad, pulse 96 blood pressure 88/62 (mine is always low). My husband arrives then my mom, sister, dad and step mom. One thing about my family whenever someone is hurt or sick we rally around them. We may not see each other besides holidays but by god if someone is in the hospital we show up like a family reunion…and I am thankful to have a family like that. I’ve tried to live by “you just never know” and to make sure I tell the people in my life that I love them because “you never know”.
I was scared…I couldn’t stop blinking even when my eyes were shut they were blinking, I had no control. I didn’t want to talk because I kept studdering or I just made no sense. I kept trying to smile because I knew the right side of my face was numb and hanging. I remember the hospital staff tell my family that I am showing signs of a stroke, I don’t remember much after that. I remember the MRI…a INCLOSED MRI…and in pops the scene from the exorcist where she is getting her MRI. They get me into position, tell me to let them know if my tattoos get hot because it can happen (fantastic). They put this bulb in my hand, my right hand and tell me to squeeze it if I have any problems. I get the ear plugs in and the nurse asks “would you like a washcloth over your face? It helps people with anxiety”, I shake my head yes and they finish getting me ready and in I go. I have my eyes shut with the washcloth over them earplugs in and I can hear it, at first I was telling myself “it’s like Mario brothers it’s just the sound of someone playing that damn game” then sound would change and I could feel my heart start to race and that anxiety attack feeling so I tried to tell myself “it’s just rave music now” that only lasted so long and I was trying to squeeze the bulb they put in my right hand but I just couldn’t get my hand to work. I wanted to spring up and crawl out like a mad woman but I felt the table move and out I went.
They admit me into the hospital I get my own room at the end of the hall (thank goodness). They did a ultrasound of my carotic arteries in my neck, a CT scan and a echocardiogram of my heart. My aunts and uncle show up to see me along with my daughter and her husband. My room is full…and full of love. My aunt is a nurse practitioner so I get a lot of translating from her. My MRI came back NO stroke and NO plaque (so MS is ruled out), but I have white spots on my brain. The doctor will be in tomorrow to talk to me the nurse says as she is putting the leg pumper things on for circulation..I love those I wanted to take it home but I was told no, darn it! Everyone gives their well wishes, hugs and I love yous and slowly clears out. Jamey left to get us some clothes, my quip toothbrush!!!, phone chargers etc and to let Ruger out. I was so glad and thankful he was staying the night with me. I couldn’t get off the bed or have extra weight on the bed or it would set a alarm off so he pulled the reclining chair up close to my bed and put his hand on mine, that was one of those moments where you take a picture in your mind and hold onto that feeling. The hospital pillows are what they are he didn’t think to grab any sleeping stuff from home so we had to make due with what they gave us. Hilarious seeing Jamey try to cover his entire body with the hospital blanket they gave him that was a square!
My goal for the night was rest and sleep…which I don’t do either at home so I can about guarantee it’s not happening in the hospital then add the nurse that checks on you every 2 hours to see if you want anything! 5:30 am is when the nurse came in to do the echo then my nurse came in at 6 saying that the doctor makes his rounds at 9. I can’t eat hospital food, thanks to my family I didn’t have to worry about food. My mom showed up with Dunkin Donuts (well I’m never going to lose weight!). As with any hospital stay it took what seemed like forever to get any answers or to get out. After finally talking to a doctor my family knows well they diagnosed me as having a hemiplegic migraine..who knew you could have a migraine and not feel it. I’ve only had 2 migraines in my lifetime and I don’t want to have anymore. To be continued….