This is a post I wrote on Sunday 21st February, 2010. It always brings what is truly important to the forefront of my mind.
For just over an hour yesterday, I thought I was having a stroke.
I woke with a headache, so when it didn’t abate after I had eaten, I sucked back two heart starters and some pain killers. It had been an unremarkable morning, so I crawled into bed because I had a schedule of writing planned for the afternoon. The next thing I remember was a pain like a lightning strike cracked and that my left arm was weak and tingling. My arm then turned into a piece of lead and its heaviness was beginning to supersede the ache in my head. I called my mother. I said ‘Don’t panic’ and relayed the situation to her. Then I called the paramedics and finally, my housemates stayed with me until two crews arrived. I had some slurring of my speech and a blank moment when I had trouble getting my words out, much like what happens when I’m hit with high doses of Ribavirin, an anti-viral.
Eliza jumped into bed with me and stroked my hair; my parents arrived, as did a second crew of paramedics and some basic neurological tests and observations were done before I could be transported to hospital. My blood pressure was high, but I deduced that was from the pain, and my oxygen saturations weren’t their usual 99-100%, which are the only numbers I like them to be. One of the paramedics wrapped the elastic of an oxygen mask around my head and the smell of plastic threw me back to my life pre-transplant. Masks and nasal prongs. Old familiar. It was an old familiar that had a brutality about it. I felt as though someone had taken an eggbeater to my belly and I began to feel sick.
Thankfully, that’s as familiar as it would get. I hadn’t had a stroke and was cared for by one of the the finest residents (interns) I’ve come across in the emergency department last night. He was fastidious, lovely and made me feel less frightened. Dad gave him serious props, which is … serious. I’ve never heard my father rave about a doctor that way since Pete swooped in to save my life in November 2007.
I spent the night on the neurological ward and was discharged this afternoon. Sometimes a flash flood is better than a torrent and again, I find myself questioning what is happening. By that, I mean right now and not just about me, but with you. Here are some questions. See how many you can answer truthfully …
What did you do today?
What will you do tomorrow?
Did you tell someone you loved them?
Did you say to someone that you can’t – and won’t – live without them?
Did you kiss with deliberate passion and reason?
Did you watch her sleeping?
Did you touch his forehead?
Did you laugh?
Did you cry?
Did you sing?
Did you say hello, goodbye, thank-you?
Did you say ‘I’m sorry – I couldn’t do what you asked.’
Did you say ‘you changed my life.’
Did you say all you had to say?
Did you do enough?
Did you mean it?