It was hard to know how to title this post. I considered “Gratitude.” I considered “Pondering Life.” These fit too, but we’ve certainly experienced a "mixed blessing" this day.
We have been reminded of how precious life is.
We have been reminded of how quickly life can change.
We’ve had quite a scare.
We’ve seen many blessings.
This morning my husband woke me up just after 5am. He wanted to let me know he was going to drive to the hospital. When he told me what was going on – one arm entirely numb, dizziness and a sense of being too warm – I suggested I should drive him. As he continued to dress I made a call for him to get someone to lead his morning Bible study, but before I could complete the call he collapsed onto the bed, arms spread wide, saying, “Call 911. Call 911.” Then he got really quiet.
Thus began our day. It was a day of worry and of grace.
The firemen and paramedics arrived very quickly. I waited for a friend to arrive to remain with our kids who were still in bed; thankfully they had not been awakened to witness and become distressed by what was going on. I then headed to the ER. Everyone there was great – kept us informed, got a series of tests (6 of them!) started right away, were very thorough. The doctor was fantastic – kind, informative, attentive, concerned, personable.
As the morning progressed at ER and the numbness receded, my husband began to think it was a fluke, a pinched nerve or something, and he began to feel a bit silly for having gone in. This was not the case, however, as we soon we found out to our profound amazement. He had experienced a TIA (transient ischemic attack), a “mini-stroke” or “warning stroke.” What we also found out from the CT scan is that he has had a stroke in the past – a stroke that did damage but one which he did not feel and that had not impacted any functioning, so we were totally unaware of it. This was all rather shocking.
We’d never heard of TIA’s before. We now know that they are somewhat common among the elderly but particularly concerning in someone this young, especially someone with no risk factors – no smoking, no family history of stroke, no hypertension, no obesity, etc. He will need to take precautions to prevent possible future occurrence of stroke, and we know that if he experiences numbness or dizziness in the future that he needs to get to the hospital right away.
Tomorrow we will receive more information as he sees his primary doctor.
On the one hand, it was a very scary experience, and it is of concern to know that he has some degree of risk for stroke (and has actually had a stroke in the past) even though he is only 41. On the other hand, we have seen many blessings of God in this day. The timing could not have been better. It happened while he was awake rather than asleep. The numbness came on after he’d been up for a while; had he woken up with it he may have thought he had just slept on his arm in strange position and not taken the numbness as seriously. It happened at a time when the kids were spared the distress of witnessing our living room full of firemen and paramedics and seeing Dad wheeled out on a gurney and leaving in an ambulance. It happened at home, and we live very near the hospital. It did not happen when he was driving. We were upheld by many forms of support both tangible and intangible and were reminded of the love surrounding us and what fantastic, caring friends we have. The testing that he was given alerted us to a problem that was already there but that we would have had no other way of knowing about. This served as a warning that has given us the knowledge we need to be able to take precautions. This has reminded us too of what I listed above – how quickly life can change – how precious life is – how precious we are to each other - and how we need to remember that every day.
My posts don't usually contain such deeply personal events, but I think today calls for it.
I am so thankful for my husband and for God’s sustaining grace in this day.