This I believe..That I will find the answers

Virginia - Roxboro, North Carolina
Entered on November 16, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
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This I Believe…I Will Find the Answers

This I believe…That one day I will find the answers. Immediately one might ask what the questions are. First, I want to give a little background. Five and a half years ago, I had a wonderful life. I worked two full time jobs, was buying a home, raising my son, making good money, was in great health (or so I thought), and was having the time of my life. Then, one evening, tragedy struck and my world came to a screeching halt.

The evening before my mother’s sixtieth birthday, I was home with my son. He was thirteen at the time and planning to spend a few weeks with his grandparents in Ohio. As I was vacuuming the hallway, I suddenly got a terrible pain over my right eye and became much disoriented. My son asked was I drunk. I don’t remember what happened next but I remember my son telling me to get up. I had fallen, lying on my left side. Suddenly, I was having difficulty breathing but could not think straight enough to evaluate the situation. Neither could I get up. In my mind, I was trying but my body wouldn’t cooperate.

My son immediately called my mother who lives a mile from us. When she arrived, I remember her pulling at my arm telling me to get up. Again I tried and again I failed. Still gasping for air and trying to explain that I was trying, I continued to lay there until emergency personnel arrived. Since I had worked in a hospital for five years, for some reason having to have EMS called to my home was humiliating. I argued that I was alright and that I didn’t need an ambulance. Needless to say, I was wrong in that assumption.

Once they were finally able to get me on a stretcher, I realized that I could not move any part of my left side but I remained calm, just laying there being the perfect patient, all the while thinking this whole ordeal was ridiculous. That was, until I heard the ambulance driver say “cva” while talking to the doctor on the radio. CVA means Cerebro-vascular Accident, which in English means, stroke. All I could think was, “I’m forty years old. There’s no freaking way I’ve had a stroke.” I continued to remain calm because I knew there was a mistake.

Upon examination by the emergency department doctor, my mom by my side, the doctor explained that I had indeed had a stroke and asked if I wanted the drug called TPA, which is a clot buster. At forty years old, I suddenly became fourteen. I looked at the doctor then at my mom and told him to ask her. At that point, I no longer desired the ability to make any decisions, although still capable.

Now, I am a determined human being with a strong will. After being in rehab for three long, grueling months, I came home. Everyone tried to get me to go on disability because though I could walk, I was using a cane and I still hadn’t gained use of my left hand. I refused, arguing that I was capable of working and that’s what I wanted to do. So, I returned to work, at first doing part time then eventually back to full time. And although I could no longer return to my business as a hairdresser, I remained at the hospital for three more years, at which time the pain of spasticity became so intense that I could no longer withstand the walks into work.

I’ve always heard you can’t keep a good man down. In this case, it’s a good woman. I did get accepted for disability, and became a “stay home mom; driving my son to school and back every day, doing housework, and becoming engrossed in the television for hours at the time. I decided last year that I had to do something different with my life. That is when I started taking on-line college courses. The downside is that my ability to retain information has diminished some and I have to really study. The upside is that I have a goal and I am staying busy. Still, there are the lingering questions that deserve answers that I hope I will find soon.

One of those questions, of course, is “Why did this happen to me?” That is one that may never be answered so I’ve learned to send it to the back of my mind. Another question is, “What do I plan to do after school?” When I figure out what I want to be when I grow up, I will find the answer to that question. With my physical disabilities (I still can’t use my left hand, nor will I ever be able to run again), my choices will be very limited, but I know with my determination, I will find something that I’ll be able to accomplish. There will be many more questions as time goes by, but “This I believe…I will find the answers.”