I’ve been sitting here like a deer in the headlights for the past few weeks not knowing what to say after I dropped a bomb all over the internets that I had a stroke.
I mean, what do you even say? Hi, I now sleep with cognac next to the bed because it can open blood vessels in the event of a stroke and save your life?
The truth is I can barely remember anything about last winter, most of it is a haze. The morning after it happened I woke up completely shocked that I woke up at all. I opened my eyes, stared at the ceiling and thought, ‘Oh shit.’ Too scared to try and move in case I was paralyzed, I laid there with my head throbbing into the pillow. Finally I tried to bend my index finger and, when it moved, make a fist with my right hand. It was super weak and barely closed, but I did it. ‘Well there you have it, I’M FINE,’ I said to myself, ‘Might as well log into that conference call.’ What can I say? Old habits die hard.
When I tried to swing my legs over the side of the bed I knew I was in trouble, but still railed against it. My head was pounding so hard and I fell into the wall when I tried to make it down the hall to my office. The right side of my body just kind of hung there and I was pretty disoriented, but managed to get the number right for the call and join in. From there it became obvious that something was very wrong with my brain. When we’re on these calls, I feed a lot of information to my client via quick messaging and she refers her client directly to me on areas that are my subject matter. It is quick, sharp discourse, and information I deal with regularly and have known for years. It’s hard to describe what was happening, but this is my best attempt: a question would be directed to me and I could actually see the train of thought in my brain moving to where the information should be – but when it got there, there was nothing. My memory had been wiped clean.
Don’t ask me how that call ended because, quite frankly, I can’t remember. What I do vividly recall is being in a cold sweat, panicked, desperately trying to remember things I had known for years that were now gone. It was the beginning of many wake up calls for me.
It didn’t take long to realize I couldn’t remember my sister-in-law’s name, any of her sisters’ names, the password to get into my bank account or how to use the key to open my garage. In fact, I couldn’t even remember how to start my car. I couldn’t understand the gear shift, how to get the car to go in reverse or how to adjust the side mirrors. Everything was foreign. I sat in my car and cried quietly, terrified, thinking about how my grandmother and some of her sisters – all otherwise healthy – had died from aneurysms with no warning.
I’d like to tell you the rest was a cake walk, that I recovered in a few months and everything is right back to normal, but that’s not true. The truth is, I’m a lot better than I was this time last year. The truth is, I’m a different person than I was this time last year. The truth is, I’m still working on it.