This is my stroke survivor story. First, some background.
Ischemic Stroke is what it is called when blood vessels are blocked by clots cutting off oxygen to the brain. This causes brain tissue death.
This is similar to what happens during a heart attack due to a blocked blood vessel causing heart muscle tissue to die. The images of my heart show significant scar tissue from heart attacks.
I'm a stroke survivor.
I realized this was an emergency!
My adventure as a stroke survivor with Ischemic Stroke began in October 2005. It was mid-afternoon. I was sitting at my desk working on my computer.
I was intensely working on my computer, I noticed drips of fluid dropping from my face on to the desk surface. I thought perhaps I had a sudden runny nose.
I felt fine but suddenly realized that it wasn’t a runny nose. I was drooling. The fluid was coming from my mouth. That seemed odd and out of place. I’m not a drooler unless I’m sleeping.
I stood up and walked to the bathroom. I didn’t feel funny and I seemed to walk just fine. I stood in front of the mirror and looked at myself. Yes, I was drooling. The left side of my face seemed to be drooping. I had no notionI was starting my stroke survivor adventure.
I have no idea why but I started to talk to my face in the mirror. That was when I realized I could not speak. My words were slurred. I couldn’t make my mouth form articulate words.
Instantly, the word “Stroke” popped into my head. I must have learned something about Stroke symptoms somewhere in my past.
My stroke survivor adventure begins.
I knew this was an emergency. I had the presence of mind to get my identification and walk out the back door. I knew I needed help right away.
You may ask, “why didn’t you call 911?” Simply put, I was in the middle of a stroke crisis and the thought of calling 911 never entered my head, literally.
Later, as a stroke survivor, I learned my brain was not functioning properly at the time. It was getting worse as time went by. The only thought I had in that moment was to seek help.
Out my back door.
I had heard the neighbors in their yard. All my brain would tell me was to seek out the neighbors for help. I stepped out my back door. I walked about 20 feet to one of the neighbors.
I tried to ask for help but nothing was coming out of my mouth except this strange language I didn’t recognize. Somehow I managed to point to my head and say, “hep, hep, hep.”
Thankfully, one of the neighbors realized I was trying to say I was having a stroke. They bundled me in a blanket, sat me down, and called 911.
It's hard to think straight.
Being a stroke survivor allowed me to reflect on my experience. It was an odd feeling.
I was completely aware of my surroundings and situation. I was alert yet seemed somehow detached from the world. It was like watching yourself in your own movie and you are the star.
I was sitting in this lawn chair like being in a movie theater seat. I watched all this crisis and activity going on around me. I felt like I was simply taking in the view.
I could tell that my intellect was fine yet I also felt detached from the world. I couldn’t interact with anyone around me. I just sat there waiting and watching for the next thing to happen.
It didn’t seem to bother me that I was having a stroke. I didn’t feel scared or anxious. I just felt detached and traveling along a journey I had no control over.
As a stroke survivor, I later learned that I was having a right brain Stroke. The left side of my brain was not having a Stroke.
This seems to explain why I could be rational and alert about the situation yet feel in a dreamy and detached state of being. Each side of my brain was having a different experience and processing the events in different ways.
I made it to the hospital. They took good care of me. I went through rehab during my hospital stay.
Recovery during the first week was such a strange experience. One day I couldn't do something. The next day I could do that task. Each day, it was like light switches were being turned back on.
This is when I realized that I was going to make it and be a stroke survivor.
As you can see from my story, stroke symptoms may not hit you like a truck but can be subtle. The key is that I could see that my symptoms were not normal. I could observe myself in the mirror and physically see this was just not me.
Finally, my first experience with Stroke happened years ago. It is important to keep in mind that recovery takes time. Lots of it. The recovery process may take months or years. Some people never fully recover like me.
In my next article, I'm going to talk about my recovery and explain about my "jigger" example and FAST.
For more information;
Stroke risk factors.
Transient Ischemic Attack.
Recovering after a stroke.
Page review 12/1/15