..I immediately felt a wave of fear rush over me and I told myself to remain calm.. so I forced myself to start taking slower deeper controlled breaths. I got up, after I wiped of course, turned on the faucet, splashed cold water on my face and then put my mouth to the running water and took a huge gulp, thinking that it would help and my leg would wake up.. but it didn’t. I didn’t want to but I looked in the mirror for any signs of drooping but my face remained even and normal. I open the bathroom door and walked across the hall to my bedroom with my phone in hand and begin to get my shoes on. I called my husband Ricardo and the second I heard his Hello tears immediately ran down my face, I said “I need you to take me to the ER, I think I’m having a stroke and I’m at grandmas house..” he asked me what was wrong and I went on to tell him how my right side was going numb and I started to panic. Ricardo told me to calm down and I told him I was going to my mothers next door because I did not want to freak my grandmother out, who is over 80.. I get my shoes on and right before I walk out to the living room I thought someone was touching my elbow, but it was the door frame and I realized I had just lost feeling of my right arm.
I’ve had to make trips to the E.R. before and I know to always grab Insurance and Identification before you leave the house.. It makes it easy on everyone because you don’t have to send anyone back home to locate your info.
7 non lucky steps later I noticed that the shoe on my right foot had flipped backwards. My grandma was in her room and I gave myself a couple of seconds to get my shoe on, but I had no luck.. I couldn’t feel or control my right foot any longer. I ditched the shoe and began to limp out the front door to my moms.. I get outside her backdoor and I thank GOD out loud because I see her car is running and the back door is open but as I realize all this my right ankle rolled and I stumbled backwards.. the only thing that kept me from hitting the ground was the pillar behind me that caught my fall. I yelled for my mom 3 times and the last yell even scared me because I didn’t realize how much fear I was showing in my voice. I was taking controlled breaths and when she ran out to ask me what was happening I started to again, freak out and began to slightly cry.. in my shaky fearful voice I yelled, “YOU NEED TO GET ME TO THE SHANNON EMERGENCY ROOM NOW, I THINK IM HAVING A STROKE.”
My mom has had problems with alcoholism for years now, While my parents were going through a divorce she took the other outlet and drank..heavily. She was sober for at least 6 years before she relapsed recently, when she came out to take me to the hospital she kept asking what was going on and I noticed she was so drunk that it affected her speech.. she sounded nasally and was slurring.. It was getting harder to walk, so I hobbled, locked my knee and drug my right leg to the passengers side seat of the car. I sat down while it took her 1 minute to get in, and two more minutes to leave because she wanted her boyfriend to get in the car as well. You can not imagine how frustrated I was sitting in the passenger seat, not knowing if I was going to lose consciousness while my mom was yelling for her boyfriend to get in because she “needed him to go with her” and so I put my energy and focus on getting the situation back in my control. I had no other options so.. I told her to leave him behind and began to coach her into safely leaving the house. I told her to turn on her emergency lights and run all the stop signs and stop lights we could. I even had her run busy intersections if we had the time to safely cross between the oncoming traffic. We live 4 minutes from the hospital, in those 4 minutes of coaching her I called my Dad, called the E.R. to notify them of my arrival, and called Ricardo to tell him that I left home and to head directly to the E.R. I began to get more dizzy while I looked down roads to make sure they were clear.. but I focused and kept my attention on everything but the blurry lights in the dark sky.
We drove into the E.R. patient drop off and I told her I needed her to get a nurse and a wheelchair because I couldn’t feel anything on my right. I could finally take a calm breath because I had finally made it to those E.R. doors. I used my left arm to pick up my right leg and sat with my feet outside of the car door while two nurses rushed over to lift me into the wheelchair.. and that wasn’t nice feeling at all, the amount of pain that you feel when any pressure is on something numb is awful. Imagine you placing all your dead weight on a bed of sharp nails and the nails are digging into your deep muscle, plus the tingling sensation then turns into a deep prickling, sandpaper sensation wherever someone lightly rubs areas in which you went numb in.. My mom told me she was going to park the car and run back in the hospital.. that was the last time I saw her for a handful of days.
I was wheeled inside to give the admissions nurse my social security information and a description of symptoms I was experiencing. My name band was put on and as I looked at the bright “FALL RISK” printed on it, I noticed my right arm was beginning to slightly swell. The nurse proceeded to rush me down the hall into the E.R. rooms and as soon as he turned me to the left, I again thanked God because Ricardo walked in and started following us into the double doors. A minute later I was put into a gown and had nurses surrounding me while they poked me and attached the heart monitors and cords and fluids and oxygen and all these other sensors to me.
It doesn’t matter where you are, you should always be a good sport and follow all direction that you receive with a smile. You could be in a life threatening situation but you will save everyone the stress and time by paying attention, listening, reporting changes to the nurse, and above all, staying calm.
My nurse was really sweet and really calm. She made me feel like I was going to be ok but was also honest with me. She looked over at another E.R. employee and began to voice her frustration.. “I don’t know why more people aren’t in here, this is a Level 1 Stroke why are they taking their time??” She took the situation into her own hands and wheeled me to Radiology herself without the orders being written yet and by the time I got in, all the orders were there and I was immediately lifted by 4 nurses and placed onto the table.. as I got my first CT done I wondered what exactly a Level 1 Stroke meant for me.. as I was wheeled back in for the next one I wondered what they were going to find in my brain with the injected dyes. I returned back to my room in the E.R., my dad was there now and he had such a worried look on his face, In that moment I knew what it meant when you don’t want to see loved ones become upset.. my dad had tears in his eyes and I told him to stop crying and that’s when I let it out and started to cry. This is the first time in my life that I’ve not been able to hold my emotions back. My dad left the room to make calls and Ricardo and I took the advantage of the alone time to talk.. all the time we spent together, he never let go of my hand. I calmed down before the nurses came back in, she reminded me to be calm and while she said that someone else would come in to test functionality on both sides of my body… It was beginning to get worse and worse everywhere.. I would tell my arm to move, but nothing would happen.
I got another breath of fresh air when the Physician, who would be taking care of me, came in. Dr. Duarte was very kind, informative and also to the point, which, I appreciated. He introduced himself and began to tell us that I either had a brain tumor or had suffered an aneurysm, he showed me a picture of my CT scan, with a huge black area covering the left side of my brain, on his iPhone screen, while my dad asked if this was related to my Thyroid Cancer.. he began to tell us that he needed to run some more tests to see if I would need to go into surgery within the next couple of hours. He also explained to us that the large black spot on my brain was what he assumed to be a large area of blood.. The whole medical emergency sunk in more and more and I went back to putting my focus on controlling my breathing instead of letting myself cry.. We spent the rest of the night doing more labs, moving to ICU, injecting more medicine, making more trips to radiology, with the last trip of the night to radiology to have a Cerebral Angiography performed..
to be continued..