A few weeks ago, I wrote about going to the baseball stadium and watching my daughter, “Jelly” work the crowd as a photographer for the Augusta Greenjackets. Read about it here: I Get It Now, Pt. 1
Last night, I had an experience that although she wasn’t there, told me much about my oldest daughter, Kelliann. It also reminded me of a very important lesson I have learned over the years.
Life is short and dead is for a very long time.
Yesterday evening, I was attending a firefighter training session at Aiken Public Safety Headquarters. At about 8:30, I started feeling a “twitching” sensation on the right side of my head. It would last for maybe 10-15 seconds and then stop…and then start again in about a minute. I had never felt a sensation like that and I started to get a bit nervous. I debated what to do and finally leaned over to my good buddy, Mike and told him something was wrong. Long story short, my blood pressure was elevated (typically is is remarkably low for someone my size). Mike later told me I looked like a ghost, but the symptoms went away and I decided I was going to drive home. (Yes, that was not the best decision I made yesterday).
I decided to take a different route home…one that lead me home, but also kept me close to Aiken Regional Medical Centers. A few minutes later, the right side of my face started going numb and I briefly became nauseous and flushed. I knew I had to turn right at the next traffic light.
I called Alicia and pulled into the hospital parking lot and walked into a very crowded emergency department. Without sounding melodramatic, I thought I was a dead man walking…it was surreal and I thought about what a crappy way this was going to be to make my exit.
It is amazing how quickly you can be seen if you complain of chest or head pain and I was brought in and treated with what I will call a “polite sense of urgency”. I started getting a little more nervous (remember…as an EMT/Firefighter and undertaker, I have seen these types of symptoms have very bad outcomes) and the last thing I did before they started working me up was to text message my priest, Fr. Gregory Wilson to tell him I was in the ED. As they started poking and prodding me, I could hear Mike (see above) telling the nurses that he was sent by Aiken Public Safety to be with me. Surprisingly, they let him in the room. A few minutes later, Alicia arrived and shortly thereafter, Fr. Wilson.
From the time I walked up to the triage desk, until I walked out two hours later, there wasn’t a person along the way who didn’t look at my name and ask if I was Kelliann’s dad. Some nurses actually came into the room to talk to my wife and I to introduce themselves as they heard that Kelliann’s mom and dad were in the department.
Shortly after arriving, all the symptoms stopped. 12-lead EKG…check….BGL…check…..initial neuro workup…check,……blood pressure…..back to almost normal…….CT scan of head….determined there is in fact a brain in my thick skull…..check.
The symptoms probably were a result of a reaction to some unusual food I consumed at dinner, but I will be following up with my neurologist today to be sure.
Back at work, feeling great and proud to be “Kelliann’s dad”.
My appreciation goes out to Dr. James and Staggs for their care, along with Lynda, my primary nurse and all the others that assisted us at Aiken Regional Medical Centers. Also to my wife, Fr. Gregory Wilson and Lt. Brian Brazier who sent Michael to the hospital, representing Aiken Public Safety who helped keep the mood as light as it could be.