A New Heart...A New Life Part 1
This is me...
Until December 11, 2016, I was a normal woman, living a fairly normal life, expecting that things would turn around for me at any moment.
Then, at 9:30 pm, my life changed forever.
I had a stroke. The first sign of the stroke was the stroke itself. I never had any "episodes"...I didn't get a headache or see halos around lights...
I simply tried to get up to go to the restroom, and my left side didn't do what I told it to do. Me, having a very weird sense of humor, laughed and said
(out loud), "What the FUCK?" Yes, I know that a lady doesn't curse, but when your body will not do what it has done thousands of times throughout your life, I feel that the aforementioned "fuck" was acceptable and forgiveable.
So, it passed and I was able to go to the loo to do my business. Then, 10 minutes later, my friend Don called and we spoke for a few minutes. Then, he said, "Lisa, you need to get off the phone with me right now and call an ambulance. Your voice does not sound right." So, being that Don is an old and dear friend, and that he would know when I "don't sound right", I did as he instructed. My Mother, always worried about how any situation will affect her,
ran from the sofa to the door, frantic that she did not know what would happen to her if something happened to me. Anyone who knows my Mom knows that this is her normal reaction to anything that is unpleasant.
Two EMTS, each one younger than my youngest students, came into the house and hooked me up to all kinds of monitors. They wheeled me to the ambulance, and one of them said, "Ms. Walters, it looks like you have had a stroke." I laughed, again! He had to be joking - and it really must be a reaction to the fact that the Dallas Cowboys were losing their first game with Dak Prescott. Or, maybe, it was the really hot barbeque sauce I had eaten on my ribs. Or possibly an emotional reaction to the fact that my Daisy (17 year old Aussie) had passed away on the Wednesday before. But, nope, the Emergency Room physician confirmed it. As he scooted around the room with his broken leg on one of those scooter thingys, he told me that I had gotten to the hospital in time to have TPA, a medicine which stops the damages, improves your outlook, or kills you. Yes, you read right...in 30 minutes, I would either be better, or dead. So, I called a couple of special people to tell them that I loved them, and they hooked me up to the IV. At the end of 30 minutes, we thought that I was going to be okay. My left side was usable again, and I even got up by myself to go to the restroom. But Scooter, as I affectionately called him, decided that I should go to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital - just in case this 54 year old woman with one kidney had another stroke. And guess what???
Sometime in the night of December 11-12, I had another stroke and when I woke up, I couldn't move, couldn't speak clearly, and had a problem with swallowing. Tests were done - enough that I was beginning to feel like one of those superheroes who undergo the horrific and painful experimentation that makes them superhuman. But no, I didn't get anything from the testing - except to find out that I had a hole in my heart. It seems that every baby is born with a hole in the septum to allow for the easy passage of blood in such a tiny space. Within 6 months, most of these holes close on their own. Of the tiny fraction of babies where this doesn't happen (less than 10%), 90% of those present with a heart murmur or an irregularity that is found during an exam. I am one of the left over 10%...never had a heart murmur that was detected through a kidney removal, an appendectomy, a month in the hospial with my twins, hospitalization for pneumonia, OR a treadmill test for my 50th birthday. So- I am one of the few...the freaks of nature...the ones who walk around with a time bomb in their chest for years without knowing it. From what my doctor could figure out, a blood clot was formed during my speedy weeklong trip to Mississippi for Thanksgiving, and when I picked up my 50 pound dog to put her in the car for her final trip, that blood clot broke free and start moving around. Within 4 days, the clot had gone to my brain, and I was laying in a hospital bed with a tube coming out of my lady parts.
After that, the fun really began.