|The Second Time Around|
By Chuck Hofvander
I was in the family room when I had my first seizure, one of three. It was late in the day, around five o’clock, and I lost control of my body. My wife, Liz, called the ambulance and I was taken to the Northwest Community Hospital ER. By then the seizure had already begun to decline in severity and I had my wits about me. The ER doctor came in to see me. He looked at my admittance information and then looked up at me. A look of uncertainty came over his face and he said “haven’t I treated you before?” My wife said that he had. He was the ER doctor that had been the first one to see me when I had had my stroke.
When I had my full blown stroke it was a Sunday afternoon. I was riding the stationary bike. My wife was at a bridal shower and my two sons were both working, I was alone. When it started I was unaware that it was a stroke. I had been healthy. I rode a bike an average of 2,500 miles a year and when I wasn’t riding I was running and lifting weights. I began feeling light headed. I came upstairs to the kitchen and my feeling of light headedness worsened. When it got to the point that I thought I would pass out, I went into our family room and that’s where my wife found me two and a half hours later. The whole process lasted under five minutes. When you’re alone, having a stroke, calling 911 doesn’t come to mind.
I had no idea what the symptoms of stroke where. Sure, there are internet sites like The Stroke Network and publications like Stroke Connection and Stroke Smart but they are for stroke survivors not for the general public. Stroke is not a well known disorder yet it is the number three cause of death in the US. Everybody should know the warning signs.
When I was brought into the ER, the doctor who would see me three months later was my ER doctor. He gave my wife no hope. The priest was in attendance administered last rights. The neurosurgeon who saw me said that if she didn’t operate in the next 15 minutes I would be gone. The neurosurgeon could not guarantee that even if she did operate, that I wouldn’t be in a coma for the rest of my life or could die on the table.
Mathew, my son, was crying, curled up on the floor saying “please don’t let Dad die.” Brad, my older son, was a daze. Liz gave the OK to operate.
The left side my brain was pushed to the other side by the size of the clot.
I recovered. Through months of therapy, doctor visits, experimental therapy, faith, and determination, I recovered. My speech is not what it was, my right leg is 50% of what it was, my right arm just has about 5% of function, and from time to time I have “episodes”, I call them mini-seizures. But I’m alive. I’m still recovering.
Now back to the ER doctor who saw me when I had the seizure. He was so shaken to see me, that I had survived, he look up at me and said “I’ve got to start going to church again, there is a God.”
Copyright © June 2007
The Stroke Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 492 Abingdon, Maryland 21009
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