It has taken me nine months to begin to put my thoughts into words. My inability to make my thoughts concrete is in part due to the slow process of healing. For some reason, yet beyond my comprehension, the recovery of my physical being has been near 100%. Perhaps the Lord sent angels to watch over me. My daily struggle with memories of my experiences is my greatest hurdle. Forgetting about everything is possible, but would be much too easy. Conversely, I prefer to use my aneurysm as a vehicle for growth, to cultivate my understanding of life and all of its intricacies.
My life as I've always known it took a dramatic turn when I was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm (interior carotid artery) on the evening of April 11, 1996. I am a 25 year old graduate student at Penn State University and had just returned home from class. My husband was working second shift, which meant that I was alone. By the grace of God I was on the telephone with him, reciting my stressful day when the aneurysm presented itself. The following story has been released from the depths of my soul.
First a numb feeling in the back of my head and neck. I lay down trying to relieve some of the pressure. I tell my husband that something is wrong...I don't know what. It is unlike anything words can describe. The excruciating pain started...John tells me to take some Tylenol as he puts me on hold to take a call on another line. I rush to the kitchen in a panic and quickly swipe bottles from the medicine cabinet to retrieve an analgesic. For the first time in my life I wasn't concerned that each bottle was put back in its proper place.
By the time I get back to the couch I am loosing all muscle control, my hearing is poor, and my world is becoming very dark. As I wait for John to come back to me, the senseless, garbled words of a recording play over and over. "We appreciate your call, someone will be with you shortly. Please hold the line..." I am begging to hear John's voice. He comes back on line and I tell him that I am scared. He tells me that he is scared too...I loose consciousness.
In the distance I hear someone pounding on the door yelling for me to open up. It feels like a dream. The phone begins to ring and I snap awake. It is my neighbor and friend, Ron telling me to unlock the door. I only have a little muscle control but manage to crawl to the door. It seems like an endless journey but I make it, and collapse into Ron's arms. He was an angel in disguise. He comforts and holds me while John is rushing home. John is finally by my side, thank God.
Our other neighbor, Ron (quite a coincidence) leads the way to the hospital. I go to the admission desk and am barraged with a series of questions as I fumble through my wallet for my medical cards. Ron quickly steps in and tells the persistent clerk that my husband is parking the car and will be with her shortly. Another angel protecting me. Hours go by and we are told little. John is acting as my nurse and cleaning up my vomit. Meanwhile the nurses stand in the next room gossiping. John was persistent, but his cries were ignored. A person is called in to perform a CAT scan and then the neurosurgeon is called. Shortly after he arrives at the hospital the doctor comes in with the diagnosis. "You spilled a little blood in your brain..." I ask if that means I won't be going home.
They have no beds for me in the hospital and I am told I will have to stay in the ER. John is busy making the painful phone calls. He is so strong for me. I couldn't have went on without his love and support. The neurosurgeon explains the possibility of transferring to another hospital- Hershey Medical Center- affiliated with Penn State University. He is relieved when I ask to be moved and tells me of a wonderful doctor that will perform my surgery.
I have little concept of time. Finally, after hours of driving, our families arrive. They are all pillars of strength for me during this trying time. How wonderful to have each of them by my side. An angiogram is performed on the morning of April 12 and the surgery begins at noon. With angelic hands Dr. Powers clips my aneurysm. At 5:00PM he tells my family that the surgery was a success. The angels breathe a sigh of relief.
Five days after my surgery I was discharged. I astounded everyone with a remarkably speedy recovery. I was embraced with love from my wonderful family and friends, without a doubt a contributor to my successful recovery.
So, to everyone who nurtured me with love and encouragement...I couldn't have done it without you. Words could never express my love for you. And to my husband...I love you with everything that I am, you truly are my soul-mate.
My journey of understanding continues, but I am certain that I will never have to walk alone.
I welcome any correspondence.