March 3, 2017
Hello again Maple People,
I recently chalked up one of those rare and elusive miracles. On January 25 I woke up at 4:30 in the morning to troublesome groaning sounds from the bathroom. When I rushed to check it out, there was my wife Betsy lying on the floor in obvious distress. Though her words were very garbled, three of them spoken through a sagging mouth, “left side dead” immediately caught my attention…she had suffered a stroke and action was required PDQ. I immediately called 911 but because of icy roads, the ambulance was not quick to arrive. In the meantime I wrestled with panic but somehow remembered that I had heard stroke victims should be given aspirin immediately. I ran and got two aspirin tablets which she was able to put in her mouth with her one hand that still worked.
When the ultra professional East Montpelier Ambulance crew arrived, they “jockeyed” their gurney down our icy walkway and came in, greeted by our two Black Labs, Averill and Fern. All three of my siblings had arrived pre-ambulance (word travels fast here in East Montpelier) to do what they could. The rest is kind of a blur until I found myself riding shotgun in the hospital-bound ambulance on the icy roads of Central Vermont. Somewhere on Main Street in Montpelier it stopped dead in the road. I was told by the driver that there was a paramedic on board who was performing a procedure that could not be done while we were moving. I would find out later that he was inserting an IV so that a blood clot busting substance could be immediately started, a procedure critical to any positive stroke outlook.
Finally at the hospital, our contingent of family and friends, sans Black Labs, waited nervously in the emergency room. Betsy lay in a nearby room, hooked up to lines and hoses like our maple trees back home. Thank God, very positive word kept coming to us throughout the day. Finally she was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit and, before the day was over, her left side was coming back! She remained in our hospital for only a week and then was sent over to Fanny Allen Rehabilitation Center in the Burlington area for a mere four days…she was doing that well!
The night before her return I worried out loud to her about the state of cleanliness in our house after my short stint of bachelorhood. Her reply, “don’t worry about it…just make sure the floors are mopped and swept”, made me know I was getting the same Betsy back, completely unchanged by the stroke! She’s now been home for almost two weeks and doing extremely well. Betsy’s stroke has brought certain revelations, namely that life is precious and we’d better make the best of every minute. My thanks go out to the East Montpelier Ambulance folks as well as the first responders at the hospital. Betsy and I now know that quick response is absolutely essential to the outlook of a stroke. Lovingly, she has also credited me with saving her life. I’m not sure about that but then, I guess that aspirin didn’t hurt a bit.
P.S. Hello out there, it’s Jake here (Mail Order Manager) wanting to first say that as scary it was to have something like this happen to someone as nice and positive as Betsy, she has reminded me that her strength and positive outlook in life played a very big part in her recovery! I’d also like to extend a thank you to all those that sent cards and prayers that help her stay in such good spirits!