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Norma B.


An unforgetable lunch break!

It's amazing how life and the love of life changes after a traumatic experience.

One year ago today, May 13th I had by far the scariest experience of my life. In an instant I became completely paralyzed on my right side, from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. I was very confused, had difficulty speaking was dizzy with a loss of balance and zero coordination. My thoughts were foggy and felt incomplete, I knew what I wanted to do which was to dial 911 but I could not get the numbers right. I couldn't even remember the unlock code to my phone, that was a challenge that I was not able to accomplish until days later.

All I knew was I was not going to fall on the floor, funny I remember clearly thinking I would get my clothes dirty..hehehe. When the paramedics arrived I could hear them speaking but had trouble understanding fully what they were saying or asking, all I knew was that I was trying really hard to explain that I worked right around the corner and to please call them because I would be late coming back from lunch...( I really had my priorities in order)LOL

I was taken to the nearest hospital where I finally realized I was going to die there all by myself without anyone knowing where I was. I guess I can say that I had come to terms with dying alone. All of a sudden, my husband walks in and a little after him my boss. I was overwhelmed and for a second I thought I had died and was having an out of body experience, it was the strangest feeling. I quickly realized they were really there!

We were told I was having an ischemic stroke and there was probably a clot lodged on the left side of my brain. They gave me the NIH stroke scale. They would show me words and sentences that I had to read in English and I for the life of me could not read them, I lost all my English reading skills, I could speak it or at least I was trying because I kept mumbling. I was also shown a scenario where I had to explain what was happening and I could not get my brain to problem solve this scenario. I also could not identify all the pictures I was shown. It was really confusing. I was asked how many kids I had and all I could think of was one but I knew there were more but not sure how many. It was the worst feeling!

We had to make a decision quick whether or not to administer tPA a clot busting IV medication, of course they scared us by telling us the scary things that could happen which were bleeding in the brain and even death. There was no time for a brain scan, time was clicking and we had to decide. Every second that, that clot was lodged in my brain meant death to my brain cells and a possibility of major brain damage. We figured either way I was screwed so my husband signed the consent to administer. Within 15 minutes I was able to move my fingers a little, hardly anything, but I knew there was hope!

I was then taken for a brain scan where it was confirmed that I had suffered some brain damage to the left frontal lobe but the clot was dissolved and nowhere on the images. From there I was taken to ICU where I spent a few days not being able to get out of bed or even eat! That was hard! After that I was taken upstairs to my own room and shortly after I was discharged.

I found out a few months later my stroke was caused due to a birth defect in my heart called a PFO. I finally had heart surgery in November and had it sealed through my groin, thank God for advancements in medicine! I've had a few setbacks but honestly it no longer fazes me, I've overcome the worst. It has completely changed me, I know God gave me a second chance at life for a purpose, I think it's to continue caring for my elderly parents, I'm all they have in that sense, not sure, but I am happy to find out along the way.

I thank God every single day for giving me a new day I want to always make people smile. I try to look at things through a positive point of view, sometimes it's hard and I have to constantly remind myself!! My priorities have definitely changed, my family is first and I try to spend as much time with them as possible because you never know when they or myself will be gone!

Through all this my husband has been my rock, giving me the constant strength and support that I need, he never left my side at the hospital spent every night with me and for days became my personal nurse, even emptying my bedpan. Not once complaining or making a face. He's the only one that remembers what I have been through and how hard things are for me on a daily basis to this date. He praises my daily accomplishments which at times include the simplest of things.

It's been a tough year with constant moments of confusion and forgetfulness that I try really hard to hide, especially at work but all in all im here and I can say, I LOVE my life more than anything and I wouldn't change a thing, even with my brain damage and my bouts of confusion..hehehe I am a stroke survivor!!


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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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