Lack of family medical history has impacted my life. This is part 2 but I had yet to write part 1.
I went to bed about 9 pm and quickly fell asleep. In my dream I thought I was laying on the right arm of a corpse, kind of like a CSI episode. I remember struggling to wake up from that dream thinking I did not want to be laying on the right arm of a dead corpse…
I woke to realize my right arm was asleep like I had slept on it for a day and all the blood was gone. My next thought was that my arm should not be feeling so dead and something terrible was wrong.
I struggled to sit upright and get out of bed, I was in a fog but knew I had to get help. I tried to walk to the door but my right foot was numb and I crashed into the wall. I took a few more steps and crashed into the door frame and then staggered out into the hall. A few steps further down – the hall turns a corner, I crashed into the left side of the hall instead of making the right turn. straightening my course made me crash into the right side of the hall, back and forth hitting one side and then the other. My boyfriend heard me and met me at the end of the hall. He thought I was sleep-walking, something I don’t do. He gently tapped my cheek trying to wake me up and then realized something was terribly wrong as I slowly collapsed onto the floor at his feet.
I remember him asking if I okay or if he should call 911. I tried to answer and could not figure out why only sounds came out instead of the words I was trying to say. He asked again if he should call 911, I nodded my head yes. It seemed to take forever for the paramedics and firemen to arrive, in reality it only took minutes but panic was quickly taking hold.
I remember the paramedics trying to ask me questions and me trying to answer. What happened, what symptoms, what drugs I was on, what my history was…and all I could do was make sounds like that of a new-born. The panic and frustration moved to sheer terror as I realized I could not speak and something was really wrong. I tried to write and couldn’t write a word. They asked if I wanted to go by stretcher to the hospital or if I could walk. I chose to walk between them, each gently holding my arm. They had me lay down in the ambulance and started to strap me in. That sent me into a claustrophobic panic so they let me just lie there as they drove to the hospital.
At the hospital the triage nurse tried to get my information. I tried to answer but again only sounds escaped my mouth. I remember another nurse asked if I needed a translator, that struck me as bizarre. I tried to write but couldn’t. The sheer terror of not being able to communicate scared me. I had always been in control and that control was gone.
When they hooked me up to the ekg the read out said something like acute event. They then hooked me up to the heart monitor and the alarms went off. They took blood and sent me for a CT scan and gave me pills. I was still in a fog and trying to speak without success. Gradually over the course of the night I started to be able to form sounds but only a semblance of what the first syllable of the word sounded like. I started to realize I knew the word in my head but could not remember how to move my mouth to form the syllables…amazing frustrating. I understood what was said but could not tell them I understood. I could not answer their questions about my medical history or that I had no family medical history because I was adopted.
I had suffered a stroke. That stroke left me with aphasia, Broca’s aphasia to be exact also known as expressive aphasia. I can speak again and if you did not know me pre-stroke you may not realize I now speak differently. I still have problems getting my thoughts out in a cohesive manner, word and name finding issues and when I get stressed or tired the deficits become more pronounced. When I first started writing, the words I wrote were not the words in my brain and that I missed writing words and could not spell. I still have to edit every sentence because that still happens but not as bad as before.
The brain is an amazing organ. I now speak and write from the right side of my brain instead of my left. New pathways forged like a detour around a black hole. I will never speak or write I like did before but I will take what I have, because not having the ability to communicate at all is not acceptable.