Micah Angelic Grande
Never in 36 years of my existence have I faced a more challenging test.
My first mild stroke was in 2016. I remember that I was just laying down, watching television at night when someone rang the doorbell. I got up, walked out of my room and as I switched the light on, I felt heaviness in my left arm. My fingers were so weak that they began to shake a little. I felt weird and thought to myself “I probably fell asleep and laid on it; I will be fine”. I used my right hand to turn on the light and open the door.
A couple of minutes after closing the door, I went back to my room and laid down again. I began to feel weird. The right side of my face felt numb and tingly. I also felt like my voice had started to sound deeper and my speech had started to slur a little. I called my mother. She told me that I was probably tired and that was why I was experiencing some weakness; or it could be a mild stroke.
My mother told me to eat a banana or chew a piece of gum on the affected side to help muscle-blood circulation. I called my dad and he told me call 911. I looked at my face in the mirror and noticed some deformity on the left side. It had started to droop a little. I was too scared to call 911 but instead, I just laid down, massaged my face; and did nothing more.
My family on my mother’s side has a history of high blood pressure. Sometimes it’s manageable sometimes it’s hard. Although I have a history of high blood pressure, I didn’t take medication but instead, I was careful with my food and I worked out.
Weeks after that first stroke, everything returned to normal. My left arm and face regained muscle tone and the droop had lessened. The pitch of my voice had returned to normal: it was just like nothing had happened.
My blood pressure remained so high that it alarmed and scared me but of course, I continued to ignore it. I figured that taking medication wouldn’t lower it because it is an historic, family wide, genetic problem. For a short period, I had taken HBP medication but it was never maintained.
From 2016-2019, everything went well until Friday July 31st 2019 at 5:30pm. I was driving home from work and was one minute away from my apartment. I felt intense heat in my head and the right side of my body dropped. My muscles weakened quickly and when I started to walk, my right leg behaved strangely: I felt like a puppet on a string.
I made it to my apartment safely. I walked my dog but after that, I called my boss and my friend. That’s when 911 was called. My friend came to my apartment and she waited with me to make sure that I was okay until the ambulance arrived. As I sat on the stairs outside my place, waiting for the ambulance, I was losing control of the right side of my body and couldn’t keep it still. I had to grab the handrail to keep still. The right side of my face was so numb that when the paramedics asked me questions, I couldn’t talk at all and I couldn’t move. It was as though I was frozen/stuck so the paramedics carried me, laid me down on the stretcher and started to work on me. I remember the ambulance moving, bright red lights all over and a loud emergency siren. Then… I closed …. my eyes…