Friday, September 12, 2014

Don't Panic, Just Know

I took this photo on April 21st, 2011. Its just a shot to show all the magnets and craziness on the front of my mom's fridge. My sister and I made all those Scrabble tile magnets ourselves!

On April 30th, 2011, my mother suffered a stroke. My sister called me, concerned. I suspected a stroke and went over. Look a little closer:

I suspected a stroke... because I had seen this magnet so many times. I literally grabbed the magnet and went down the list.

  • Sudden weakness/numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

My mother thought she was fine, perhaps suffering a dip in her blood sugar. She was eating peanut butter, but she hadn't swallowed it. She was slurring her speech. She already had trouble moving her arms and couldn't move her legs, due to polio complications, so I couldn't even go by those. Though she still insisted she was fine, I discussed her symptoms with her and told her I was concerned she had suffered a stroke. During my literal interrogation of her, I paused... and considered her perspective. Her three adult children refusing to let her have her tea and asking her tons of questions. I hugged her. I asked if she had any reason I should not call 9-1-1. She did not. I called.

That was a very rough season. She had her stroke on Saturday, after I had gone home from work as her Personal Service Assistant. The following Tuesday, we finally got our positive pregnancy test (with Spencer). The following Sunday was Mother's Day, the one on which my ex-husband passed away. Two months after her stroke, my mother passed away. Days later, I was told there was something genetically wrong with my son - right before I went to identify her body for cremation. All I wanted to do was call my mom! None of this paragraph is the point of this post, though.

You can't go through life afraid to live or worrying every second. But you and your family can be prepared and educated. Know the signs of a stroke. Get your own free stroke warning signs magnet. Its kind of scary to me because both of my parents have had strokes, so I have a genetic predisposition for them. I'm thinking I really need to make sure my family needs to know the signs and my wishes for treatment now. If caught quickly, strokes can be treated. Educate yourself and your family.

I've ordered our free stroke warning signs magnet. You should, too.

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