I am JoAnn Murphey. I live in the north Georgia foothills. I am a published author, minister, and stroke survivor.
"Today is not just another day. Today I will create something beautiful."
"Today is not just another day. TODAY, I will learn/relearn something."
If you've checked out my pages before you will notice changes in them.
My life changed drastically in 2012. May 27th, the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. I performed three weddings (in Japanese/French/English), and I was putting the finishing touches on a competition story I was writing.
I started feeling weird like my blood sugar was too low. I was an insulin dependent diabetic. Sure enough, the feeling of confusion, general weakness in my limbs, staggering walk, and the inability to make words out of my mouth was proved by my glucometer with a reading of 40. (normal is between 80-100). I needed to eat, but didn't feel safe to actually cook something. I ordered a pizza and chewed some Lifesavers while I waited for it to be delivered.
It arrived and we (my husband and I) ate. An hour passed and I took my blood sugar again because the off feeling of low blood sugar persisted. Being a retired life flight nurse, I ran through possible cause. My pulse and breathing were fine. My blood sugar was a low but respectable 70. I told myself I should feel better. My blood pressure was a high normal(150/80). I had been on blood thinners, blood pressure meds, an anti cholesterol regime of Niacin and Omega supplements since my heart attack in 2006. I had no chest pains and no headache. So I gave the symptoms an hour to dissipate. They didn't.
I tried to tell my husband to call our daughter who lives two blocks away. He is deaf and reads lips. I didn't realize my speech was badly slurred and I had a facial droop. I never thought to look into a mirror. My right hand felt numb and uncoordinated when I tried to move it. I picked up my cell phone and called my daughter. She wasn't answering so I called my daughter who lived one town over. She in turn reached my oldest daughter that I had tried to call.
Within minutes, my oldest daughter came through the door. "I need to go to the hospital," I told her. She had experience as a 911 operator and was in nursing school. She knew the response time of the closest ambulance and decided to drive me herself. It would be faster. I helped my husband to the car (he was terminally ill but wasn't going to sit at home while I was in the ER) and got in letting my daughter drive.
I walked into the ER, handed them my insurance card, answered all of their questions, and signed the necessary forms. I was wheel chaired into a room. It being early in a holiday weekend they were still slammed with patients from car accidents, illnesses, and heart attacks. Eventually, the doctor came in and talked with me. He said all my vitals were within a normal range. They'd run some blood work and get a CAT scan. Because it was a holiday weekend, the MRI was out of the question. All my symptoms could be stress and he had the nurse give me an Ativan (a stress reducer). This wasn't heart related.
About two hours later, a hospitalist came in and said she was taking over my case. They were going to admit me for observation and that the CAT scan was inconclusive for anything life threatening. I was considered stable. A couple of days of bed rest in the hospital would be like a mini vacation for me, she said with a chuckle.
So the weekend passed. my arm and leg moved on command, my eyes followed the pen the neurologist on call held. It was just weak and sluggish. Late Monday night, my head started hurting. It was a blinding migraine strength headache. Pin points of light danced in my vision field and black dots like tiny specks in my left eye. I knew from my experience with a previously torn retina that the black specks were blood. I was crying when my daughter came in for a visit. I tried to tell them why, but no words came out. My arm and leg went moving either though I was thrashing around on the air mattress.
I was first on the list for a MRI in the morning. Though nobody had said the word stroke to me, there was no doubt in my mind now. Not only was there a clot, but it had ruptured the vessel wall. Now I was actively bleeding into my brain. This was now an emergency situation. By the time I was wheeled into surgery, the bleed had clotted off sparing me a death sentence.
The next morning, the neurologist confirmed that I'd had a small 3 mm clot that broke through the small vessel in my brain. Now I was paralyzed on the right side and suffered from aphasia so I couldn't speak.
A month later, I was home again. My voice was partial restored and I was on my way on the long road of recovery. I change my blog from an author's blog to a stroke survivors' one. In the midst of this my husband died, I sold our house and moved, and I won the lottery of stroke complications high tone turned to spasticity, PBA, clonus, and a host of other things.