Half a day as a critical patient
Today I’d like to tell you about my 6 and a half hours as a stroke patient. Slightly cryptic but I don’t want to give it away so bear with me, please!
Blinded while shopping with my kids
So the week went off quite normally, Monday – kids to school, me to work, kids home, homework, same on Tuesday, no problems, the week’s off to a good start, nothing unusual everyone is getting along and things are looking up at work.
Enter Wednesday, same thing, the day gets off to a relatively uneventful start and all goes well while my daughter plays her first hockey match as a goalie with the full kit; she is so excited and we are so proud of her we could burst! So, we go naturally off to the shop and get a few groceries.
As I enter the shop I’m seeing some flashes before my eyes that feel like I’ve been looking at the sun too long. I ignore it and carry on trying to push through the strange sense that it’s getting worse. It seems to clear only to come back, completely blinding my right eye.
I calmly tell my kids, ok kids, mom can’t see out of my one eye. We need 2 more things then we can pay and go to the car. My daughter the wonderful organiser that she is with an in-depth love of the Lord and leading of the Holy Spirit, at age 9, says right mom, I got this and proceeds to walk us, brother in trolley to the groceries we need and till point, then straight to the car.
I get to the car, trying to think through the strange experience and message my hubby the following words:
“Hi babe i’m readfy srignibg not able see mysight noy good n head toocopinh really difficult to see notsurewhats wrobg siiting in car for a niutehhope it gets better” As I sent the message the phone rang, naturally my hubby was disturbed, calling to see what was wrong, we were both convinced we had picked up some sort of virus as we were not feeling great all week.
I said Ok, I’ll sleep for 10minutes in the car while the kids read a book. When I woke up I could see. All I cared about was that I could see and needed to get myself and kids home urgently. Ok guys put your belts on we’re leaving. Even though I was somewhat disorientated I knew I could drive and needed to, before something else happened.
Once home my hubby organised supper, kids and everything else and I fell asleep on my bed waking up the next morning. Before I slept I messaged my friend who has a 24hour intercessory prayer group. I said please pray for me I don’t know what’s going on. They started praying then already.
My 6 and a half hours as a stroke patient
Next morning, as my hubby was unwell and had done everything the night before I took the kids to school. Meanwhile, I had had the most debilitating headache all night and felt like I was lifting lead all morning while trying to move my arms and legs. I kept telling myself even if they get to school late, at least they’re there and my hubby needs his rest. I’d go to the nurse as I definitely have some sort of bug.
School went fine and I went to the nurse, she looked very concerned, I explained my head felt like it was in a vice grip all night, subsided around 5 or 6 that morning only, even after meds. I had pain all down my right hand-side and arm, blinded in my right eye, numb all down the right side of my face and neck and pain in my chest and heavy feeling in my legs and arms.
After checking all my vitals she used the words I never thought I’d hear concerning myself… she actually said I think you’ve had some sort of stroke.
It wasn’t slow, it wasn’t slight or gradual, it was instant, the cold sweat that took over my whole body, I began to shiver and feel freezing cold and clammy all at that instant.
Then the next words that came out I think were worse. She said you are going to have to book yourself into hospital with this referral letter and she started very kindly but very factually telling me what and how and where to go and “keep the paperwork with you, don’t let them take it, you need it to give it to the doctors that need to see you…” on and on went the words, I could hear and understand them but they weren’t for me, she was telling me stuff I needed to know to tell the doctor, which i had no doubt I would remember when the time came, but it wasn’t about me, it was about another patient that was needing to go instantly into the hospital because they had had a life-threatening occurrence… that wasn’t me. I was fit, healthy and currently working on my weight issue.
As always, in my life and the lives of those closely knitted into and related to Him, God Almighty intervened! While the nurse was talking I hurriedly sent a message to my hubby and said something like: I’ve had some sort of stroke and need to go to hospital urgently with the documentation. He, again, awesome man that he is, immediately called me to discuss the options, because as self-employed individuals, we have no medical aid.
By God’s enormous grace he has clients at the hospital and called them to arrange they see me and to have the lesser scan and not the R 10 000 scan, but that they will be able to ascertain all the issues from that one too.
Great I start driving there and message my friend with the prayer group, this is serious, it’s urgent, I need prayer, all the prayer I can get.
Then… silence. The car is silent. My mind is, in the aftermath of the enormous pain from the day before and suddenly this is when it always hits home for me, in the aftermath, after the hype after the shock… no, I was still in shock. I was a stroke patient. 39years old, relatively active all day with my kids, not eating too well, but man, not eating so badly that I could kill myself!
God, what is going on here? Lord, what are you doing here? (I’m not blaming the Lord here, I’m just trying to figure out, where is He, because I know, personally, from everything I’ve ever experienced, and man that’s a lot! He is always with me, He is always in control, He is always Sovereign, He is always good, very, very, good. This is simply my way of saying, this is happening, where are you, what are your plans, what should I do, where do You want me in all of this?) Lord, I find myself saying, Lord, I have kids, they are young, I have a lot to accomplish. Where do You want me in all of this? I am going to this hospital now, I am going alone, is there someone I should phone? Is there someone that can come with me. I am entering uncharted territory here? “No, I am with you, you are not alone.”I didn’t hear the Lords words audibly but I felt He was with me, my Lord and my Saviour, never leaves me alone, just as He has promised in His word, and I had instant peace. I was going to be ok, even if this awful thing did happen to me, here I was driving my car, with all my faculties in tact and… wait a minute, how do I know all my faculties are in tact. If I’d had a stroke, surely I wouldn’t know if all my faculties were in tact or not? Again, I felt the Lord’s hand on my heart and mind assuring me that I would be fine.
Somehow I calmly managed to drive myself very slowly to the hospital. Once there I asked my way around and found myself at a desk with very compassionate, friendly and helpful ladies, full of questions and enquiries… tears came streaming down my face with no explanation, no warning, no feeling of being overwhelmed to warn me i just sprung a leak, in the words of my father. With my documents in hand she instructed me to take a seat and she would call me if she needed me, only I must fill out the forms for the tests…. total disbelief filled my heart and mind.
I’m sure I never would have dreamt this would happen to me, but in the back of my mind I had the vision of if something drastic ever had to happen to me I would be surrounded by loving, caring, family and friends. Here I sat. There was something about it. Sobering, heart-breaking and I didn’t want to disturb my husband who already had a day of work to accomplish and now I was adding extra doctors bills to our overstretched budget.
Through tears, eyes that were already blurred from the headache and blindness from the day before, I filled out the form and somehow sent a message to my hubby that I needed him. To which he responded he was nearly there!!
Mrs King. They called. I went in. It seemed like ages between my seat and the door where the young lady stood, perhaps i was trying to delay my arrival hoping my hubby would appear, miraculously, at that moment. Cold, clinical room, strange apparatus and I’m alone… until on the machines bed I hear “close your eyes”. No, it’s not the operator, is it You Lord,? “yes, close your eyes, don’t think about anything, I am with you,”I sigh, absolute relief and peace once again, flow over my entire being, I can do this. She says we are going to do this 3 times so just keep still. The platform I am lying on rises slowly and I get slid slowly into and out of a strange circular machine which surrounds my entire head. I am aware of what is happening, but keep my eyes shut the entire time. I feel the words coming from inside my chest or is it my stomach. (This may seem cliche to some but this is my favourite Psalm of all time. Funny the first part doesn’t even enter my mind.) “Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Though art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Again and again these words keep coming from deep within me, they are not coming from my mind but my innermost being. I only counted 2 entries into the machine and thought I’d done something wrong as the young lady came into the room and said we’re done.
Just like that they handed me my paperwork, charged me an enormous amount of money and let me go home. No questions about what I’m going to do now, no questions of whether I have a doctor that can explain the tests to me or anything like that, just good bye and make sure you settle your bill, ma’am.
Zero Answers, Doctors for 2 days
Well, I’m stunned, by now my hubby has arrived and we’re both as stunned as the other with no explanation as to what just happened, no solutions on how to find out, nothing, now what?
I call the nurse, she can’t make head or tail of the scan only to say somethings don’t match up.
Next, I fetch my kids who would subsequently spend the entire day at the doctor waiting for some sort of answers. I see my doctor who happens to be an old army doctor so he has some hands on experience with many areas of treatment.
He examines me and eventually sits on the bed next to me and says “Don’t worry my dear, everything will be alright” You have kidney and bladder infection in both your kidneys and your bladder very badly, he says, you have an ulcer, you have chronic sinusitis and spasms all through your back, your blood pressure is higher than normal but stable and your heart is beating erratically. You are clearly under a lot of stress, but your brain is fine. I ask him to check my scan due to the abnormalities we see in the pictures, he is happy they are all minor things.
But what caused the blindness is still a concern, so he immediately books me into the eye surgeon for testing. It’s now 4pm, my kids have been with me at the doctor for 2 hours. We go to the specialist, make arrangements, make arrangements for snacks, and come back, they do a barrage of tests and say I must come back in the morning for more testing.
Once home, the eye specialist calls me to tell me that he thinks a clot too small to stop my arteries could have gone in behind my eye, he is going to test for that in the morning and if he finds it I will have to go to the cardiologist for a full workup. If not, he will send me to the neurologist for testing my eyes and why I went blind.
Longest story short, I spent the entire next day unable to see due to the drops I had to take for the testing only to find that my vision was perfect, my peripheral vision was back I had had no clot in my eye that they can see and I don’t need to see the neurologist!
God’s words to me
The next morning I woke up early to spend time with the Lord and He sent me to the following scripture:
‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.’
The Lord doesn’t cause these events, but I can testify that in every scarry and unpredictable event of my life He has been there and brought me through, carried me to complete healing and His Almighty hand has never left me.
Praise God, after what could have been the most debilitating experience of my life, He spared me.