It all started at work 45 minutes before quitting time. Our deranged boss had left, and I was chatting with one of the accountants about accommodations and food service at Death Valley National Park.
All of a sudden, although I knew very well what I wanted to say, it all came out as inarticulate babbling of the village idiot variety. For about three minutes, I could not translate my thoughts into words. That frankly freaked me out. The accountant suggested I call 9-1-1, which is exactly what I did. Within twenty minutes, I was hauled out of my workplace in a gurney and taken by ambulance to UCLA Medical Center, which is only about five blocks away.
No sooner was I wheeled into the emergency room than I was surrounded by doctors questioning me and testing my reactions. I thought I had suffered a mild stroke, but there was no drooping of one side of my face or difference how I felt being touched on my right or my left. I was asked to touch my nose, touch the doctor’s finger. (Fortunately he did not ask me to pull it.) The tests kept on for several hours and were even resumed this morning. UCLA is a teaching hospital, and my case appeared to be a good instructional vehicle.
I was given an MRI scan, X-Rayed, electrocardiogramed, and marinated. in olive oil The upshot was that I had not in fact suffered a stroke, but merely a temporary clot that had deprived me of the ability to speak and be understood. The whole thing lasted only about three minutes. By the time the Fire Department paramedics came, I was able to pronounce terms like panhypopituitarism and chromophobe adenoma without batting an eyelash.
The way I see it, I was once again nicked ever so slightly by the Grim Reaper’s scythe as it whooshed by me and hit someone else. What I had was called a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). I know now that I have to watch my step carefully. The next whoosh of the scythe could wind up removing my head from my shoulders.