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If I Only Had a Brain...
If I Only Had a Brain...


One night, June 14, 2009, while was I relaxing after dinner, I suddenly became nauseous. My mother and my friend nursed me to normalcy. I chalked it up as food poisoning. The remainder of the week was normally until Friday morning. I planned to attend a funeral, but before I would leave, I had to take my garbage can to the garage.

It was a struggle to roll my can. I was out of breath, taking short breaks and walking very slow. I took my time to regain my strength and went to the funeral. Still walking slowly, I asked my aunts to accompany me to the hospital. They obliged. We arrived at the emergency room, as usual, I told them the problem and they asked more questions. They drew blood. Long story short, I needed a blood transfusion due to my anemia. My hemoglobin levels were dangerous low and they admitted me immediately. I spent three days in the hospital before I was released. Three days later, I had a Cerebrovascular Accident (stroke)!

The day that I had the stroke, I woke up to a headache on the left side. I took a couple of aspirin and went on my way. I got on my computer. Later, my friend and I went to Home Depot, we came back to my house and started grilling. As the evening progressed, the headache was getting worse. I took some more aspirin and lay down to sleep on the couch. All of a sudden, I heard a strange, piercing, loud noise. The problem was that my friend did not hear a sound. My friend secretly called my mother and she came over and took me to go to the hospital.

I remember we arrived at the hospital and the staff rolled me in a wheelchair into the hospital. That's all that I remember. I had a seizure, had brain surgery, and approximately five days later, I woke up after a self-induced coma! Since my right side of my body was paralyzed, I knew that I had a long journey ahead, a journey which included a struggle with medical insurance companies.

My family was not aware of help when I experienced my stroke. They learned quickly! First, the insurance claimed that I had a pre-existing condition. What? Second, the insurance company recommended to my mother to take to a nurse home because they did not think that I was going to recovery. My mother thought differently and my family did not give up!

I was admitted to a rehabilitation center for physical, occupational, and speech therapy. The first center, in my opinion, was horrible. My family and friends visited me every day, but when the visiting hours were over, I was helpless and could not speak. I felt so alone. Not to mention, they forgot to lift the bedrails up twice and I fell. The first time, they picked me up in less than two minutes. The second time, it was 15-20 minutes later, but this time I fell leaving a cut so they had to call my family. They had me on suicide watch. What? Nonetheless, my family took 24-hour shifts to ensure that I was not alone anymore until they found another facility.

The second Rehabilitation Inpatient Center was wonderful. All of my therapists appeared to be genuinely concerned about my progress. The rehab time was everyday between 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and one weekend day. It is intense, but I made great strides both physically and mentally. My greatest regret is that I wanted to go home, so I agreed to continue to receive outpatient rehabilitation. Besides, my insurance was lapse in terms of inpatient sessions. The outpatient was alright, but it appeared to be rushed for approximately three hours, two to three times a week.

These days, I do not have any more sessions for my physical and occupation therapy and next year. In the meantime, I exercise at home and occasionally at the gym. The problem is the tightness of my joint. I receive Botox injections, but it is never enough to cover every area. I press on to live my life!

I have always been identified as an educated, fun-loving individual. Now, I have to add another dimension, my new identity, a physical disabled person. I recall a job position in which I applied for with an essay. I was contacted for an interview via Skype. The interviewer began the interview by stating that I had all of the qualifications they were seeking. We initiated the conversation and I started talking about my Aphasia because I have communication difficulties (stumble with my words) at times. The whole demeanor of the interviewer changed. So, although they initially stated that I was perfect for the position, I knew the rejection letter would follow.

Yes, I have struggles. My house is about to be foreclosed upon and the bills are constant, but I am fortunate and blessed to be alive! I miss running, dancing, playing tennis, bowling, and bicycling. My speech is getting better. Amazingly, my ability to sing is still intact. The brain is remarkable. Unfortunately, I cannot hold a tune!!!

I do not know why I had the stroke. I do not have diabetes or high blood pressure. Today, I walk with a cane and my right arm and hand have limited mobility. If I only had a brain... wait a minute, I do!!! My brain is still functioning as evident in my message. GOD is awesome!

p.s. If you notice words that do not make sense in the context of the sentence, please forgive me... it is the Apraxia!

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Display of the Faces of Stroke stories does not imply National Stroke Association's endorsement of any product, treatment, service or entity. National Stroke Association strongly recommends that people ask a healthcare professional about diagnosis and treatment questions before using any product, treatment or service. The views expressed through the stories reflect those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of National Stroke Association.

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