Several people have asked me to recall my memories of Thursday when my stroke hit me. This blog entry is a summary of what transpired. It’s pretty boring if you came for a technical communication blog entry, so please send small children, kittens, and project managers out of the room while I try to recall the events.
I was off work Thursday, but went in to enjoy the great food and fun at Sales’ holiday luncheon, and with Ric’s prodding, led the division in a round of Jingle Bells. On my way out, I told Farebrother I’d see him later that night at the performance of “An Evening in December.” After some last-minute Christmas shopping, I was walking back to my car, when I stopped in my tracks.
Something looked funny out of the corner of my eye. Actually both eyes, sort of like when you just wake up and can’t quite focus clearly. I blinked, but the vision problem persisted. I closed one eye, then the other, and noticed it wasn’t “blurry,” or black, it was just “gone.” Images just disappeared to my right. Imagine holding your hand in front of your eyes, moving your hand to the right, and seeing it disappear as if behind Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak. Neat trick! Except this wasn’t a movie, it was real.
For some reason, probably from my floor monitor training (thanks Bart Triesch), I started taking inventory to see “who was missing.” Wiggling left and right foot, left and right hand, sticking tongue left and right, counting backwards, reciting alphabet up and back, all while standing next to my parked car in the shopping center.
Everything checked out fine, except for the “lost vision.” It was like I was onstage, but a curtain was down on the entire right side of the stage, while the show was going on. (Hey, can someone raise this curtain while I’m in the middle of this scene, please?)
So, being of sound mind and body, I drove the six blocks home (yikes!), spinning my head from side to side to catch anything that might be coming at me from my right. If you were in one of the dozen cars I passed that afternoon, I apologize again for driving what seemed like seven miles an hour, probably taking up the entire center of the road. I remember seeing the face of an oncoming driver, angry at me as I went down my street. I was probably overcompensating and driving down the center of the road. (“Sorry! Hey, I didn’t kill anyone, and let’s agree that there are worse things on the road coming at you…a teenager yakkin’ on a phone blastin’ some garbage that has no business being classified in the same breath as Earth, Wind, and Fire, or Darlene Zschech and Hillsongs, but forgive me as I rant. Where was I?…)
Clues that somethin’ was wrong
I took a nap, woke up a half hour later, and called my wife, wondering why we weren’t all home getting ready for the show. (Later, she’d tell me that “conversation was weird.”) Hung up, then called her right back within seconds to say: “hon, I lost my vision on my right side.” She said she’d head right home, and called her brother Bill to take me right to our eye doctor. That office (Drs. Gerard and Miyamura) had me come right in. On the ride there, Bill said I was a little stranger than the usual strange. OK, those of you that really know me, know that strange is a relative term.
Next chapter, at the doctor’s office
While waiting for Pam to get there, they humored me, ran a visual fields test and the printout showed no vision from a quarter of the pie, like from “noon to 3:00.” (Hey, who cut a piece of pie and didn’t tell me?)
Pam is the calmest, coolest, most sensible person on this planet, unlike people I know who shall go nameless who would have been hysterical, asking me a million stupid questions that would have made me more nervous like “oh no! what’s the matter? How come you can’t see? Can you see my hand waving? What did you do? Why’d you drive home?” and other stupid questions that you can see now make no difference. But I digress, and if you know someone like that person, I can claim ignorance.
to be continued….