I’m not a fan of stress. I bet you aren’t either. One of the reasons I love crochet is because it’s something I can do when I’m stressed out, that in general doesn’t stress me out more (unless I am in the middle of pattern writing). When Mr. Stress Monster comes knocking on my door, I run to my stash, grab a hook and just start crocheting. Many a hat or scarf has been created due to a stressful time.
Well, starting last Thursday Mr. Overfed Mean Ol’ Stress Monster of the Giant variety showed up at my door. My very dear friend and mentor Ann (who I write about from time to time) called me at dinner time and told me she was feeling numb on one side of her body. I asked her if she had called 911, she had not, I told her to call them and I was on my way. I’m really glad I did. She didn’t have the normal symptoms of a stroke other than half of her body was numb; zero speech impairment, no paralysis, no muscular issues, cooridination no worse than normal (we always joke about that cause we’re both clutzy).
By the time I drove (the speed limit, and let me tell you how hard THAT was) into town to see her, the EMTs were packing up. They thought I was crazy as I grilled them about her vital signs, and her motor responses. What can I say, I grew up with a firefighter and one of the first 10,000 EMTs in the country as a dad. Plus, strokes run in my family, I have sadly seen them happen a lot in the elder generation of my family. They scare the hell out of me.
They thought it would be good if I took her up to the ER, like I wasn’t going to any way? And so we got her things together, and before leaving for the hospital I snagged some yarn from her stash, and a hook. She had her knitting. I was so worried about her I forgot my project bag! Yup, I know I couldn’t believe it either. If nothing else that actually showed her how serious I thought the situation was!
As we sat in the hospital waiting to be seen (which wasn’t all that long thankfully), I crocheted, she knit and I noticed somthing odd…She was counting and re-counting. Now, some of us do this as a matter of course. But Ann was casting on socks. Ann can do them with her eyes closed, I’m not exaggerating, I’ve watched her do it. That, other than the numbness was the only sign of any impairment at all.
Hours went by and the doctor (a woman damn her) acted like Ann was just an old lady seeking attention. Even when I kept pushing the point home that just because there was only a few symptoms didn’t mean it was not serious. The doctor actually advised Ann to call her primary care provider in the next 5-7 days. Well, if you are healthy in every other respect but numb on one side of your body, I think that’s not a small thing. I badgered Ann to make an appointment with her doctor the next day, AND SHE DID. MRI’s and MRA’s later, yes she had not just one but probably two strokes in her Thalamus. And when I told her daughter about the counting stitches, she relayed it to Ann’s floor doctor (a nice young man) who took it seriously.
THAT WAS STRESSFUL! and I have most of a hat done.
Both of us working on handwork for hours was a good thing, it kept her calm, and her blood pressure and heart rate down lower than if she sat worrying. We never know just how important our handwork can be, and it also helped point to a problem, Ann having to really count and count, when they couldn’t really see what was going on with her.
She’ll be fine, she’s on meds, life’s good YAY! I ordered a great book that I have read by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor called Stroke of Insight. I read it this spring, because it caught my eye in the library. My grandfather had a massive stroke when I was 9, and functioned beyond anyone’s expectations for 2 years. All through my childhood (and as an adult) I wondered what it was like inside his mind.
Dr. Taylor’s book was so wonderful in explaining in plain english what happens in the brain and as a first hand stroke survivor (and neuro scientist) her writing the book make it both a fascinating and interesting read! It also helped me to really know not to ever blow off the symptoms of a stroke.
And WHILE I was ordering that book, I stumbled onto Lily Chin’s new book “Crochet Tips & Tricks”. I bought it and needing further distraction on Sunday (because I had just found out my Father in Law has just been diagnosed with cancer…when it rains it pours I tell you.) I read the book cover to cover!
Lily did a fabulous job sharing the hoodoo that she do so well! Wonderful information and very useful. I will keep it in my crochet reference library and it will be in my teacher’s basket when I start teaching crochet next year! I’ll review it in more depth later.
So, yeah, I love crochet. It made a very insane weekend somewhat less insane.