Archive for the ‘Strokes’ tag
Go Red for Women
Tomorrow February 1 is designated “Go Red for Women”. Heart disease is the number one killer of women. One in every three deaths of women in 2013 will be caused by heart disease. It is said that this is approximately one woman every minute.
Those of you who know me well are aware that on November 17, 2008 I suffered a massive heart attack. Within the next week, I also suffered three strokes caused by complications from the heart attack. I thank God that my husband over my protests called EMS immediately so that I received the care I needed quickly and efficiently. At first, the first time responders thought I had the worst case of flu they had seen so far, it became apparent to them when they took the EKG in the ambulance that I needed to get to MetroHealth ASAP.
I suffered the heart attack and the strokes in the hospital, and therefore, received the care I needed immediately. Even though this was the case, I lost 21 days of my life due to the severity of my condition. My family and friends were told that there was little if any chance for survival. Almost sixty days later, I walked out of MetroHealth on my own two feet. There had been some doubt as to whether I would ever have the use of my legs or my left hand again.
Today, I am grateful to say that I am still getting stronger every day. Because of my own heart journey and for those who have lost their struggle with heart disease I am asking my friends and loved ones to PLEASE WEAR RED on February 1.
Please help raise the awareness of the severity of heart disease in women. Make sure the women you love get regular checkups and know the warning signs of a heart attack. Please understand that women often do not get the classic heart attack symptoms. For instance, the classic “it feels like an elephant on my chest” may be a nagging back ache that just won’t go away. Many women experience EXTREME fatigue for as much as two weeks before a heart attack or flulike symptoms that instead of getting better get worse.
It was hard coming out of the darkness, through the fog, and into the light. That sentence probably sounds melodramatic, and probably, a bit like pulp fiction, but it is accurate and the subject of another post. I find that while I have been away, my Aunt Sally died. I am sad. Then, I learn Thanksgiving has come and gone. I slept through Katie’s birthday. She was here. Mo, Geri, and the baby were by my side. The baby flew with the help of Dad or Grandpa above my bed at times. Friends and family stood watch while I drifted.
Today, I am awake. I can’t walk. I can’t use my left arm. The fingers of my left hand don’t cooperate with my brain at all. Two people use a machine to help me to the bathroom. Tim feeds me. The nurses help me dress. But, I can talk, and do I talk. Visitors begin to fill my room and I tell them… I don’t remember what I tell them, but I know that I am happy and thankful to be there, and I talk and talk.
Looking back on it being able to communicate is probably The most important thing right now—the thing that holds depression at bay. A doctor steps into the room to assess me and tells me that I will probably have to learn to eat and write with my right hand. This statement disturbs me more than you can imagine. I am a “leftie” and am proud to be a leftie. I tell anyone who will listen, and in reply, I get this question “Isn’t it a bit early to tell”? And I think to myself. “Yes”.
The second day I am in the stroke rehab my therapy begins. Each day I have three hours of therapy—occupational, physical, and speech. Each session works on parts of my brain that need to learn to coordinate and synchronize. On Saturdays, I will have physical therapy because it is the most needed. Sundays I get the day off as well as Christmas and New Year’s. By Christmas, I will need that day off. These Physical Therapy guys and gals know their stuff, and they are the ones who will help me walk again. I will start with them.
My physical therapist asks me “What is your goal? What do you want to do when you leave here”? I tell her, “I want to dance again”. At this point in time, I am in a wheelchair. I cannot take three steps alone. My left arm is learning to stay out of my way, but at times, is very unsuccessful. She stops, but never hesitates. She says” let’s see what we can do about that”.
Next: My Occupational Therapist-The Listener