Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"I Think I'm Having a Stroke!"

On Sunday morning, June 3, while praying aloud in front of my adult Sunday School class at Shepherd's Community Church, I was suddenly unable to speak. My thoughts were clear; I could hear and see everything around me. But when I tried to put words to my thoughts, I could only stutter.

I could see everyone looking at me, wondering what was going on. I knew I needed to let them know that something was wrong, but the words simply weren't there. I managed to substitute synonyms from time to time, and struggled out something like: "I don't want you to think I'm intending any weirdness by this." Then: "I think I'm having a stroke!"

Immediately, the whole class jumped into action. Several folks came around me and had me sit down. Dan Kolker and Walter Rude - I remember them hugging me and praying for me. I could hear Sara Jo calling 911.

Joan asked me my wife's name and phone number - I could understand her perfectly, but could not answer her. I kept thinking: "This is a problem. I need to fix it! I'm having a stroke. What do you do for a stroke?"

As people were praying, I felt a supernatural calm. I began to pray, too. "Lord, if this is my time, I'm ready. Please watch over my family." I was worried about Shirley and the kids, but I can honestly say I did not fear dying. I knew where I was going.

I learned later that Kitty had gone over to the sanctuary to have the entire congregation pray for me. When she did, Mark Nix - an MD - came to the classroom. He had me lay on my left side. As soon as I laid down, I could feel something relax in my mind. I found that I could speak again - haltingly at first, one word here and there. But by the time the paramedics arrived (about 10 minutes later), I was able to answer questions verbally.

The ambulance rushed me to West Hills Hospital where the Emergency doctors got me stablized. The first diagnosis was a TIA - a mini-stroke. They performed a CAT-scan to see if there was anything left of the bloodclot. I knew there was a problem with the scan when the doctor poked his head in the room and asked, "Have you ever had a severe blow to the head?"

I was admitted to the hospital that afternoon, an MRI to follow the next day. There was a 'shadow' on the CAT-scan that looked suspicious. It might be nothing more than calcium deposits. It might be a tumor.

My most vivid memories of my time in the ER was my wife and church family gathering around me. They would let them in, one or two at a time, and they kept coming! I sent my wife out to the waiting room to tell everyone I was fine, to go home, that I appreciated them being there. But many stayed. Everyone was great, but I particularly remember Rick James, Randy Leinen, and Larry LaCom - and of course, Casey Walker.

The love of Christ is truly expressed in the faithful servants who make up His church on earth.


Anonymous said...

Bob -

Mark sent an email out to several of your friends and co-workers.

At times like this there are many scriptures that come to mind that are comforting. However, you have the love of the body of Christ being poured out on you right now. It is apparent from your blog that is most comforting to you right now.

I wanted to let you know that I am praying for you and your family. I will also ask that you be put on our pray chain.

I will follow your progress on your blog and wait for an opportunity.

May the peace of the Lord, which passes all understanding, be with you.


Robert Hommel said...

Hey, Dan,

Good to hear from you, bro! It's been a long time. When this all blows over, we need to get together!

Yes, I definitely feel His peace right now, and it is totally incomprehensible!

Robert Hommel said...
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