2/7/13

What if you can't speak or move and nobody is there to help you?

Woke up thinking about death this morning - not in a goth, macabre, artsy way, but in a real life/death sort of way, related to myself and others.

When I had my unexpected stroke a few years ago (2010), although I had been feeling unusually uncomfortable the day before, the bulk of it happened while I was in bed at night.  When I woke up in the morning, my brain felt like it was working fine, but I couldn't speak or move.  One side of my body was paralyzed and I felt like I was trying to move the other side/to sit up, but I didn't get upright or even move myself halfway across the bed.

I couldn't sit, I couldn't stand, I couldn't even move my hands.

When I got out of bed, it was because a medical person picked me up and carried me outside to the ambulance.

The reason the ambulance arrived was because my husband called for it.

Suggestions have been made that the ambulance was not called fast enough (causing me to suffer more end-results, more brain loss). I don't no what to say about that, because even though I have a lot of detail-oriented recollections of what happened, I do not have timing-oriented recollections. 

I do know that he called my parents, left them a voice mail, and when my mom called back and asked if he had called an ambulance, he hadn't yet, so did it then. 

When I've heard that he should have called faster, I'm not sure what to think or say. Maybe he wasn't sure what was going on.  

Although I couldn't move or speak at the time,  I was mentally conscious and could THINK, but I didn't know what was going on.  I knew it was something unusual - I knew I was being ambulanced to the hospital, so it was health oriented and serious - but I didn't know I was having a stroke.

It's now three years later and I don't think about that morning every single morning since then, but when I woke up today I thought, what if I hadn't been married or living with someone else at the time that happened? 

I'd be dead.

Even if my cell phone had been right next to me, I wouldn't have been able to move enough to pick it up.

Even if I could have somehow managed to press a calling button and lean my mouth against it, I couldn't speak. 

Maybe/hopefully, after some time, I could have managed to dial SOMEONE and spurt out a bit of garbled nonsense sound, causing them to realize that something was wrong - but if that would have even been able to happen, it would have taken a lot longer than my (ex)husband took - and then I guess the 'time lost is brain lost' issue would have been all mine.

I know there's a lot of medical talk about how if you are experiencing this or that symptom, get yourself to the hospital or all 911 ASAP, but what if those symptoms happen when you're in bed/asleep and thus unable to seek out help right away - and then when you wake up it's too late, even though you're not dead yet?

Is that why so many people die of strokes? 

Because they have an unexpected stroke and live by themselves - because they wake up unable to move or  speak, with nobody there to help them?  

Even though I couldn't move or speak and was losing parts of my brain, it's not like I died right away. If I had been by myself, I wouldn't have died in mere minutes or even in an hour.  So...

Lying by themselves for hours, unable to help themselves, even though they want to and would if they could.  WANTING/THINKING/TRYING to help themselves but unable to make it happen.

Not dying in mere minutes, but unable to move or speak and so can't contact anyone to help - and so you spend your last hours lying by yourself thinking, 'Oh my gosh, what can I do!?!  Help me!  Help me!  What can I do?  What can I do? Help me' inside your own head for hours until your brain finally goes dead?