NOTHING mini about it!
I’m not sure about you, but for me, this is a time of year to be especially grateful. As I write this final blog for the year, I am six weeks post-TIA (Transient ischemic attack). Also known as a mini-stroke. Trust me; there is NOTHING mini about it! As I reflect on that day and the events and people who touched my life, and I mean that literally, I am incredibly grateful. Grateful for many things. We live in a country where a healthcare provider is not in fear of asking if he can pray for and with his patient. Grateful for a team of people who would become angels as they took time to seriously consider the person behind the event happening in the ER that day.
As a master of soft skills (my friend says soft skills snob) and a speaking professional, I could likely be the worst patient ever! Think about this; you’ve got a patient who has considerably high expectations for communication and empathy, who is ALSO a professional speaker (my friend says professional talker) in front of you having a stroke with her own communication issues. Could it get more awkward? Looking back on the day it’s amazing how God works and allows you, if you are open to it, to find some humor in even your toughest of times.
Too much Dateline
I remember joking with Sherry, my administrative assistant, that morning. I asked if she drank the coffee. Then as my tongue continued to feel thick and I was feeling more impaired, I ask her if she thought someone drugged the coffee, and I was being poisoned. We were working from my home that day. Now while my sweet husband would say I watch too much Dateline, I couldn’t understand what was happening. I hadn’t eaten or taken my vitamins, so I must have ingested something to cause these strange sensations. It was a Friday, and we were preparing final materials for a seminar we were leaving for on Monday, and I didn’t feel like going into the office. Truth be told, I hadn’t felt right for a couple of weeks. However, this blog is about being grateful and finding humor; I’ll save the one about all the warning signs I missed in a future piece.
Back to the ER…
As they cut my shirt off I asked the nurse to please not cut my bra off and shared that it was from Victoria’s Secret and rather expensive, she just giggled. Then when she was struggling to use one hand to disengage my over the shoulder boulder holder. I told her that if she needed help, she should ask my husband because he was really good at it with one hand. Seriously, where was this humor coming from? I remember looking at my sweet husband and Sherry on more than one occasion and wondering why they were crying. It seems that when you have an event like this, often, your brain believes when they ask you to lift your leg or an arm that you are doing it. At that point, I was immobilized entirely on my entire right side from face to toe.
As the fiasco progressed, one of the physicians (who I grew to love) at the stroke unit mentioned that he appreciated the humor then he said, “you remind me so much of my wife.” With IVs in each arm, multiple electrodes from legs to chest, barely covered with that beautiful blue cotton gown, I said, “Oh really, is she hot too?” Everyone laughed through the tears, and we progressed.
It wasn’t until he was sharing the chances of death with the “clot-buster” medication he was going to give me that things became clear. I had joked through some of the elements and then harshly said to one nurse, “I’m in the medical field, please don’t speak to me like I am 12, tell me exactly what you mean”. In that instant I became hysterical and my BP shot back up to 199/118 for a second time, I realized that I wasn’t laughing my way out of this. When this same doctor shared the odds of me dying within one hour after the injection of a brain bleed was 1 in 16, and I had less than an hour window to decide, things became extremely somber.
the “Mighty Physician”
After another injection to try and get my BP down, it happened. This amazing physician asked if he could pray for us. Obviously, we were thrilled, taken back, and agreeable. As he took my hand and Chuck’s, our friend and neighbor, the medical director, my girlfriend, all the nurses and medical professionals paused it was as if they had done this before. A feeling of peace came as he prayed to the “Mighty Physician” about what was happening in that room and my body. We all wept at the most beautiful words he would use in his communication with God. This is a blog, not a book, so you’ll have to wait for the extended version, but within one hour, every part of my body was fully functional with some minor stuttering. On the days following when I became tired, my right eye would droop a bit. Everyone in that room shared that they witnessed a miracle. Three shared with me over the following 24 hours that they had never seen someone that effected have a return to such a healthy state without that injection.
What makes you grateful?
My prayer and hope for you this holiday season is that you look for a little humor in those awkward or uncomfortable moments. It could be worse, and you could be a turkey this season! More importantly, take a few moments to speak about what makes you grateful. Share it with someone, don’t just keep it to yourself. Our greatest gifts are often in what we are willing to share with someone else. This physician would dare to share his faith and his words. He was willing to risk what might happen for what could happen.
Share your story with others this holiday season and think of what could happen. I’m sad I missed the inaugural DeW retreat. I felt like I was an essential part of it and a big part of the community. I learned so many important lessons. It wasn’t my timing; it was His, and His is perfect. Now, our year is ending, and I never thought I would see “the roaring 20’s” and what do you know here we go!
See you on the road,
To read more from JoAn go HERE