So it has been a long long time since I blogged and this time I have really good excuse for the absence… if you follow me on Instagram you know already… but in the last days of 2020 I managed to have a stroke. Needless to say this year has been about giving myself room to adjust and heal.
So this post will not have any pretty quilt pictures but will have the story of my stroke adventure and some helpful tips on strokes.
So here is the story…. on the 29th of December I was sitting at my sewing machine finishing up making some blocks, as you do. I started feeling strange…dizzy and light headed…. then I lost control of the leg that was controlling the sewing machine. I stood up and somehow managed to “walk/stumble” to the living room chair. The dizzy was not a normal dizzy – the world was not rocking but spinning and the right side of my body was not behaving itself at all.
Luckily my husband was working from home so I called out to him…I believe I said “honey I have a small problem”….understatement of the year! As soon as I explained what was happening I think we both knew what was going on… but neither of us verbalised it…. I think we were scared of freaking each other out. We jumped in the car and headed to the emergency room. The rest of that day was a blur. Lots of tests, lots of questions and lots of needles. I was luck enough to be able to tell the doctors exactually when the stroke started (10:18am) and was in the emergency room in plenty of time to get TPA (Tissue Plasminogen Activator), a miracle clot busting drug.
When I arrived at the hospital I could walk into the ER but within about 20 minutes of arriving I could not move my right side at all. It took the drugs a bit to kick in and when they did I started getting some movement back. A couple of nights in hospital, lots of tests and monitoring and I was released New Years Eve.
I was exceptionally lucky. We realised what was happening and despite Covid fears went straight to the hospital. I knew exactly when the symptoms started and was able to get a wonderful drug that helped so much. In the USA you have a 3 hour window to the get the TPA drug…. in the UK and Australia it is 4 hours. This drug was the difference between me walking out of the hospital with a functioning right side and being permanently paralysed on the right side.
2020 was incredible stressful for many of us, and 2021 has not been a picnic either. Please do not skip you check ups and if you have high blood pressure please monitor it. If think you are having a stroke, you have any weakness on one of side of your body do not “wait for it to go away”. Go to hospital. Even a mini stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack) are a pre-curser to a full blown stroke. Listen to your body. Trust your instincts if you think something is wrong the chances are high that you are right.
So 2021 started for me with a limp. I did lots and lots of PT and I am getting back on my feet. Somethings have changed forever…I am a stroke survivor…my right side is weak and I have reduced sensation on that side… my brain gets easily overloaded – bright lights, lots of noise, lots of people all throw me. But I am alive… and there is a few more benefits. The lack of sensation on my right side has meant that I can bind quilt after quilt without any pain in my fingers or hand and without a thimble. This year I have bound over 30 quilts, sometimes finishing two or three a week. I have also started using all the good fabric I have been hoarding for years…. which means I have lots of pretty quilts to share in the coming weeks/months. Also this year I said “yes” to a lot of things I would not normally do which included having my photo taken by a fabulous neighbor.
So this is me now…. older, greyer and wiser… but still me.
Next post I will start sharing some old finishes from the last 12 months or so. I have so much to share so stay tuned….