heli loading

heli taking off

Ten days ago today, I had a stroke.
I was sitting at my desk in my office and suddenly I was on the floor. I was aware of what was happening but unable to get myself up or to speak. The receptionist saw me and called 911. In just a minute folks came and put me on a cart. It is only four blocks from my office to the hospital. We were there very quickly but from there things get a little blurry.

Ted arrived almost immediately, along with four of my co-workers. I remember them asking me questions and me just lying there, grinning but unable to answer. I was not in pain. I don’t remember being poked though later I could see evidence of that happening many times.

They did a brain scan and determined it was a clot based stroke. I was informed that I had a type of stoke that most likely would respond to “thrombolytic” drugs if they could be administered within a four hour time frame. We were well within that.

Olympic Memorial Hospital has a working relationship with Swedish Hospital in Seattle and through a “magic” system, the doctor from there was able to see me and try to talk to me. Of course I couldn’t answer. But apparently he determined that these drugs should be administered.

I was weighed by someone pushing a button on the bed and my weight printed out. Then the local doctor calculated the dosage while two independent nurses double checked to determine the exact dosage that would be needed for me.

Once that was done I began hearing noises that indicated to me that I was being sent to Swedish. Our pastor came and prayed with us. My four loyal friends remained nearby and it seemed only a brief interval before two navy blue dressed women from the helicopter transport company arrived to take me away.

I remember it was windy approaching the helicopter. My bed slid up from below somehow. I couldn’t see much. The two navy blue women traveled with us but someone else did the flying. Finally I dozed.

When I woke up the helicopter was not at Swedish Hospital but at Harbor View County Hospital as Swedish does not have a helipad. A quick transfer to Swedish and I was into routine hospital care. I gradually regained my ability to talk. I had brain scans, blood tests, exams by occupational therapists and speech therapists, and four days later I was ready to go home.

One blessing was visits from our sons and daughters, granddaughter, nephew, and sister.

I work for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and another blessing was the sense of support I received from them. Not only did they remain by my bedside at OMH, but one of women offered to take Seneca and Raven into her home. Ted knew the kids would be thrilled to stay there and we had no worries about then while we were in Seattle.

And I have to mention the nursing staff at Swedish. They were always there to answer our many questions. They were thorough and caring.
I am taking it easy for a few days. I am still a little slow in thinking, but gradually improving. I am so grateful to so many.

Paul and family

Our nephew Paul and his family