KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAfter dinner in late June of this year, my son’s voice was one of panic and urgency as he yelled for me to come to his room. Something was wrong with his Dad.  As I ran down the hallway and saw my husband, I could immediately tell he was having a stroke.

I suddenly realized my reactions had to be immediate, calming, and decisive.  While my emotion wanted to take over for fear of the unknown, I knew time was of the essence.  I told my son his father was having a stroke and we had to get him to the living room as quickly as possible and give him aspirin.  As my husband’s body became heavier as the stroke took hold, I knew time was waning.

As quickly as I would put an aspirin in his mouth, he would spit it out denying through slurred words that he was having a stroke.  Finally, in desperation, I told my son he had to get the aspirin down his father’s throat and left him to take care of the task while I called 911.

As I was dialing 911, I kept thinking why we choose to live in the country.  Time was not our friend, and the hospital in Temple might as well have been located in New York.  An eternity later, the ambulance arrived, and we finally were on our way to the emergency room.

If you’ve been in an emergency room, everything is a blur.  Questions are flying at you, and you are then asked if you would agree to allow the doctors to give your husband a drug which could help dissolve the clot and improve blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of the blood flow (tissue plasminogen activator, tPA) with 1 to 2 percent of people having an adverse reaction.  I immediately say yes thinking of how he has never had an adverse reaction to medication.

The drug is administered and you wait.  Within the next half hour or so, my husband is brought back to the room in preparation for his admittance to a room in the ICU wing.  As I walked beside him, I am filled with hope that the drug was given in time to minimize the severity of the stroke.  As we get to the room, I am asked to go to the waiting room for fifteen minutes as they ready my husband for his new room.  Fifteen minutes turned into forty-five minutes, and as I started down the hallway toward my husband’s room, I saw a flurry of doctors and nurses working on him.  Yes, you guessed it, he was one of the 1 to 2% who had a negative reaction to the drug.  His airway was closing fast, and his facial features had swollen three times the normal size.

Enough of this roller coaster ride, my husband lives and his journey continues, and I am so grateful for God’s grace.  This one event has not only changed his life but that of his immediate family members and friends, for we too share in this journey to recovery with him.

You may wonder why someone would share the details of a story that is so personal.  My motivation is to alert readers that lives are changed within seconds, and when the dust clears, life continues, only differently.  As my husband and I find humor and wonder in moments of success toward his recovery, we celebrate.  In moments of clarity together, we both realized that our journey is shared by those who have walked before us, those who are walking with us, and by God who continues to carry us through our doubts.  May each of you live faithfully.

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