It was odd how I glanced at my watch precisely 9 pm Tuesday, August 24, 1999, a moment, which became forever etched in painful memory. My part-time job taking tickets at the annual Livestock Exhibition had become quite busy, as crowds stormed through the park entrance. I had just glanced with satisfaction at the midway not far away.
Without warning a stroke descended from a sky reflecting red and yellow carnival lighting. Confusion entered the right side of my head from a whirlwind of noise, which filled every crevice in my skull. I grabbed my head and kept saying, “Turn the sound down.” Then I began to slowly spiral downwards, slid to the ground and lay on my back.
I could not move, nor speak, yet heard someone say, “Stay down.” I was aware of every word being said, but not able to even flick my eyelash, as attendants from St. John Ambulance and others worked on me. It was as if I was in a blackened room with voices coming from all directions.
Soon, I could an ambulance siren, which usually headed to Truro’s Colchester hospital. At first I could not comprehend it was I in the vehicle. “Awfully close by,” I thought at the time. When my cot banged noisily into doorframes entering the hospital I began to move my limbs. I found out later my wife had an urging to pray for me at exactly 9 pm at home where our regular Tuesday Home Bible Study group met each Tuesday. I believe those prayers prevented more serious stroke damage.
At Truro’s Colchester Hospital, I went through continued attention: IV, Oxygen Mask, Blood Pressure monitoring, heart machine, EKG and two cat-scans done. Also had three painful lumbar probes. First two had a hard time getting through the muscle, and unable to draw blood. I can speak with experience about these spinal taps.
At 11:30 pm the doctor said, “We’re sending you by ambulance to Halifax, since it appears you had a mild stroke, due to what we believe is a leaking aneurysm.”
“Is that serious?” I asked.
“Oh yes, very serious,” he answered.
Before heading for Halifax, sixty miles away, I prayed. “Dear Lord,” I said, “I am not ready to pass on. There are still unfulfilled projects I know you wish my wife and I to complete. And there is also ‘un-forgiveness’ in my heart I wish to correct. Please let everything be alright and allow me to come home tonight.”
In the Halifax hospital two neurosurgeons probed, poked, scratched my feet, checked eyes, muscle strength and took another cat scan. “We could not find a thing that was life threatening,” the doctor said. “Go home now and return in a week for an ultra-sound on your neck carotid veins. You also booked for an MRI.
“Thank you Lord,” I was barely able to whisper.
I was home in bed by 5 am, where I experienced a variety of conditions. Headaches when standing or sitting, poor writing skills, numbness in right foot, calf, leg, and arm. Extreme tiredness. I could not sleep because of fear. It was as if I went to sleep, I would not wake up. That I would die. Then, I thought, what would become of my wife? I had to get up and walk around then returned to my bed. With my wife asleep by my side, I asked God for peace. I slept very well.
Days later I read man fears three things: God, death and one’s own mind. A friend later witnessed to me that the devil sows fear into our very beings. I prayed for peace of mind each following night and my Lord granted me restful sleep.
In one night’s dream, I was back in Wyoming, Ontario where I used to work, and standing by the large parking lot for the main Municipal building. It was full of cars, all glitzy, golden in color and fairly dripping with fancy designed chrome. The cars were large, bulky, muscle-types, and every eye-catching intricate pattern possible. The feeling I received was they belonged to successful, powerful, and important fat cats.
The message received in my heart was- not to allow materialism and trappings of this world to capture my attention. That this is only temporary, and metal rusts. The thought left lingering in my mind was, “Metal rusts!” This dream confirmed God’s protection over all my debts, even our mortgage payments. Once this night passed, I hardly every had a restless night again.
I went to Halifax hospital to have an ultrasound on my Carotid veins. It meant sitting still for about 45 minutes while this lady pressed an instrument against the back of my neck, monitoring blood-flow into my brain. The doctor later confirmed I had a stroke. “A mild one,” he said. “Is there such a thing as an acceptable one?” I wondered. Side effects seven years later still affect me. However, I have resumed driving, walking more, much less pain in my body and an attitude of thanks. I have also dealt with that unforgiveness in my heart.
Now I praise the Lord even more, and thankful His message of hope and love abounds, as I continue to recover.
FOOTPRINTS, a close family novel about a father’s search for a son he never met can now be ordered from SynergEbooks. Richard & Esther Provencher are also co-authors of two other novels soon to be published at: www.synergebooks.com.
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