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Willae I.


Turning Misdiagnosis Into A Mission

Neurology is complicated, sharing with others isn't!

Having a stroke is a pretty dark hour and many of the changes that occur afterward, depending on your support system, can be dark. But it's up to each of us to reach for our inner light. On Saturday, I raced to the emergency room after what I now know was a stroke. After my weekly dance class, I suddenly had an extreme headache, felt really dizzy, weak, nauseous, and couldn't see. I tried to sit, but couldn't see a chair I knew was there. I thought if I could just relax long enough, I would arise and drive home to walk my dog.

A few dancers noticed me from behind, gave me air and water and asked if they should call 911. My strong mind replied, "No, I'll be fine". After who knows how long, I managed to get up to exit the building and walk toward my car. Someone yelled from behind, "you will be like a drunk driver driving home". I remember chuckling to myself, but advanced toward the car. As soon as I unlocked the door, 3 women from the class reached for my keys, directed me to the passenger seat and said they would drive me home. Then they said they were driving me to the ER and called my closest friend to meet us there. I curled on the passenger floor with my eyes shut, feeling weak and nauseous.

I told the medical personnel everything I could before projectile vomiting everywhere and falling to sleep. When I awoke after a urine and blood test, I was told I was dehydrated and to go home and rest. I can't remember much about the next few days other than lying on the sofa, but thank God my mother called on Monday. She couldn't understand anything I said and was on the next flight to see me. She took me to another hospital and I was admitted with a stroke in 3 parts of my brain. I was hospitalized for 6 days. It wasn't until I was in the hospital for a few days that I noticed my speech, balance, strength and vision was altered.

I arrived home with a walker, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech therapist and daily medications in tow. My mother cooked for me, ran my bath water, walked the dog, etc. Each day I awoke believing I would go back to work, but after 2 weeks, I knew this was a longer process than I could imagine. I had to leave my job, my out-of-state home, friends and lifestyle to return home with my retired mother. As soon as I felt strong enough, I applied for social security and unemployment and was denied. This younger, active, vegetarian's life had now completely changed. As I try to rebuild my entire life, this site truly has provided comfort that a survivor, caregiver and medical professional understand. It's inspiring to see others who are conquering this and living through it as best as humanly possible. We will band together and work toward informing others about the complex nature of nuerology!


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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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