The next morning I awoke to Thanksgiving, 1999. My first visitors of the day were my mom and my Aunt Bobbi. They had come to see me and check on my progress. Both they and I were so excited and relieved to find that I could speak normally. Praise God for His Goodness. He uses the medical field and medications in such a marvelous way! Around mid-morning, a neurologist came in to see me. She was Dr Ruth Atlas, who had been assigned to my case and came in to talk to me and get my medical history. As we spoke and I reviewed my medical background and medications with her, I told her about the Premarin that I had been taking for almost 3 years. She asked me what I was taking it for and I replied that I had undergone a hysterectomy in January of 1997. She then asked if I had experienced ‘flushes’…meaning hot flashes. When I said that I had not, she said that she didn’t want me to take Premarin any more, which was fine with me. That was one less prescription that I could cross off of my list! She said that if I did experience hot flashes to take soy. In later years I would take that advise to the extreme and take soy that I didn’t need to be taking, but that’s another blog post, another time.
Later that day, I was transferred out of ICU and into my own private room. I began to have quite a few visitors from my church, family and friends. Mom made sure that they all kept an upbeat, positive attitude while in the room and if anyone acted sad or solemn, she made them leave! Hooray for Mom Patrol!!! Here’s something else that I had forgotten about until I started writing this. A gentleman came into the room who was a physical therapist, who wanted to offer his services and Mom told him that I didn’t need any physical therapy. None of my motor skills had been affected by this TIA. The only after-effect that I noticed was a numbness in the right side of my face, so I had to be very careful when brushing my teeth, because I couldn’t feel if I was brushing too hard. I didn’t want to hurt myself. Of course, the doctor said that I might never regain feeling in that side of my face, but, Praise the Lord, my feeling was completely restored within just a couple of weeks.
I was in the hospital for a total of 11 days and, during that time, I had a lot of time to think. I began to remember back to the events of the past 2 weeks. I had been taking Centrum multi-vitamins for years and, decided, just recently to change vitamins, for no particular reason except that I wanted a change…some variety in life. I went to the store and spent over an hour reading and pouring over vitamin labels. I finally decided on a vitamin brand and bought it. Eight days later, I had the mini stroke. Since the suspected cause of the TIA was a magnesium deficiency, I decided that, when I got back home, I was going to check the label on the new vitamins for magnesium content. Sure enough, when I got home and looked at the label, there was no magnesium in the new vitamins. I threw them in the trash…I would not want to wish this on anyone else, and went back to the Centrum vitamins. I have since, changed to another brand, but I made certain that the brand I switched to contained at least 200 mg of magnesium. In fact, I really went overboard on my magnesium consumption for the first couple of months after I returned home and discovered that magnesium also has and excellent laxative effect! To this day, I am a strong proponent of magnesium.
OK, back to the hospital…for the next few days, I had a battery of tests, all of which came out normal. Dr. Atlas was determined to try to find out what had caused this TIA. She finally decided to have an angiogram performed on me. What the doctors discovered was quite remarkable. During the test, they discovered that my heart and circulatory system were in a mirror image…everything was turned backwards! I asked them what that meant. Was that good or bad? The doctor said that it was fine…He was just glad that he found this out now so that he would know how to proceed in case of any surgeries, etc. Another fascinating occurrence was…the cardiologist that was called in brought with him a 2-D Echo machine which shows my heart activity. When he hooked the machine up to me and started running the test, I could hear my heart beat and actually see the activity on the screen, kind of like a sonogram. When I saw the heart valve opening and closing, it actually looked like a dove moving its wings up and down! Pretty wonderful, don’t you think?
With each test that I went through, I felt the Lord’s physical Presence with me in the most real way imaginable, throughout each and every procedure. It was so wonderful to know that He was right there with me through each second of every step of the way.
It turned out that the medical team did decide to perform what is known as a ‘subclavian bypass’. This was a medical procedure to improve the blood circulation to the left side of my body. The operation was a success and I was given a prescription for a blood thinner, although, this was later overruled by my surgeon, Dr Robert McGowen, who prescribed an over the counter aspirin called Ecotrin (Praise the Lord). I would rather take an aspirin each day than a prescription drug if the effectiveness is the same!
By the way, the food at West Houston was fabulous. I ate heartily and lost 8 pounds, but I was told that it was because I was eating good, healthy food and not junk food!
I also had a lot of prayers going up for me by an entire army of prayer warriors from my church. Never underestimate the power of prayer. My God is an Awesome God and a Prayer-answering God.
I was discharged from the hospital on December 3, 1999 with a clean bill of health and I took some time off from work to rest and recover before pursuing regular work duties again.
…and that was my experience having a mini stroke and full recovery.