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.
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.