Opening My Eyes

May 27, 2016 started out like any other day. I rushed around the house, trying to get everything ready before walking the dog and taking Roya to preschool. I grabbed a mini muffin and a sip of water, when I felt an odd and sharp pain in my chest. I thought to myself:

I’m going to faint. Let me sit down on the floor.

The next thing I knew I came to on the tile floor. I was disoriented and screaming loudly. Roya was crouched over me, gently rubbing my leg and saying:

You’re okay, Mommy. You’re okay. I’m here. Don’t cry.

I made it over to the couch and called Elizabeth, a friend in the building. I somehow managed to convey that I needed help, and she thankfully came over. Within the hour, Elizabeth walked my dog and took Roya to preschool and me to Sibley Hospital.

At 9:15am, the ER wasn’t busy so the doctors saw me quickly. A few of the routine tests (EKG, blood and CAT Scan) followed. After learning that all of the tests were clear, I assumed that I could leave soon thereafter. But, the ER Chief wanted to keep me that afternoon for observation.

Me: Really?!? Why do I need to stay, if all the tests are clear?

ER Chief: Well, it’s good that your tests are clear, but when you came in, you presented as though you might be having a stroke. We just want to make sure that isn’t the case.

Given my medical history, I’ve heard a lot of things over the years. But, a possible risk for a stroke was a new one. I didn’t question heeding the doctor’s advice. (Later, Elizabeth shared that she, too, had the same stroke concern.)

Me, exhaling deeply: OK. Would four hours be long enough to know if I’m no longer at risk for that? See…I’m 100% parent, and my toddler has her school performance today. I would only have to be at the show for five minutes, but I’d really like to represent if I can.

ER Chief [looking at her watch]: Yes, we would know by 3pm. And, I have a toddler, too, so I get it.

Luckily, the next four hours passed quickly and uneventfully. During that time, I emailed the assistant at Roya’s preschool and learned she had a great day. I also gave them a heads up that I would be at the show and told them to let Roya know that I would be in the audience. I was discharged with a referral to see a cardiologist.

My friend picked me up to take me to Roya’s school, and I texted Nanny A while en route. I told her that I would be there, but that I would be looking like ass. (For those who doubt just how bad I looked, imagine especially disheveled hair, no makeup, and an attire of Umbro shorts, a t-shirt and Old Navy flip flops. Nanny A later told me that in two years, she had never seen me look that bad.) Deep down, though, I knew that how I looked didn’t matter. All that mattered was that I was there.

Roya’s class sang their little hearts out. Once she walked off of the stage, the magnitude of the day hit me. I went from cheers and applause to sobbing in the back of the auditorium.  I managed to collect myself in the school foyer before Roya saw me.

An hour later, the three of us were back at the house. I went to grab something from the kitchen, when Roya said:

Please don’t fall and lie down in the kitchen again.

I had figured that Roya would say something to me about what happened, and she did. I exhaled before walking toward her, giving her a big hug and responding:

I’ll try not to! That must have been really scary for you. [She nodded.] It was scary for me, too. But, I went to the doctor, and they said I’m okay. And, you were so brave! You’re such a big girl.

Nanny A and I looked at each other, and she nodded in approval. We went back to eating our dinner and then let Roya play for a bit. Roya was intently focused on her toys, when she looked up at me and said:

Your eyes were closed, and I helped you open them.

Nanny A and I both tried to hold back tears at such an incredibly sweet and insightful comment from our almost three-year old.

“You did, Roya. You did,” I replied while giving her as many kisses as I could.

A few days later, I had a realization. Over the past three years, Roya has opened my eyes to so many things in so many ways. God willing, she will for decades to come.

Roya, Stef Woods, City Girl Blogs

As a PS, I met with the cardiologist, and all is indeed well. He believes I had a vasovagal response, and I’ll be keeping a close watch on my low blood pressure.


  1. You continue to amaze me and ROYA inspires me. You have reminded me how blessed we all are and to slow down and breathe. Sometimes life has a funny way of reminding us of that…glad, so glad you are well. Hugs from NODAK…AV

    1. Thank you so much!!! Roya is such a gift. And, you’re right that I needed the reminder. Hope you are doing well! xoxo

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