Thursday, December 12, 2013

i never thought...

as i stood at the counter
in our kitchen
pouring formula into a bottle
for katherine,
everything went black.

i never thought
i would see katherine grow up
much less
turn 21.

that was the first
of several strokes i experienced
over the years
following katherine's birth.

local doctors ran tests
blood work
cat scans
spinal taps.
they found nothing.

as katherine was growing,
i was diminishing.


when katherine turned two,
i took her in to dr. crick
for her 2-year-checkup.
after he gave her a thorough exam,
he looked at me.

dr. crick: and, how are you doing, dani.
me: (with tears forming in my eyes) dr. crick,
i have a number for vanderbilt clinic in my pocket.
if i give it to you, will you call
and get me an appointment with someone
who can help me?
dr. crick: (looking at me sympathetically) oh, honey,
what's wrong?

as i reached into into the pocket
of my skirt to pull out the post-it
 on which i'd written
vandy's number,
i began to explain.

dr. crick took the piece of paper from me
and assured me he would do what he could.
i could tell by the look on his face
he was very concerned.
he knew me.
he had known me for a long time.
he knew something was very wrong.
i knew something was very wrong,
and i was scared...


we had barely gotten in the door
at home when
my phone rang.
i put down katherine,
threw her diaper bag
over the back of the couch,
hurried to answer the phone.

me: hello?
dr. crick: hi, honey, it's dr. crick.
i called vanderbilt for you.
dr. howard kirshner will see you.
you only need to call his office
and schedule an appointment.
they are expecting your call.

dr. crick gave me the phone number,
and i jotted it down on the palm of my hand.

me: thank you so much,
dr. crick. you are an angel!


when we arrived at the vanderbilt clinic,
i wasn't sure where we were supposed to go.
so, i stopped and looked
at an informational board
which had an alphabetized list
along with their suite numbers
of all the doctors at the clinic.

"dean of the department of neurology"

dr. crick was an angel!
he hadn't gotten me in to see a doctor;
he had gotten me in to see 


right away, i surmised dr. kirshner
was the real deal...
he asked questions
none of the other doctors asked.
within minutes,
he looked at me and grinned.
i am going to order several tests
to confirm it,
i think i know what the problem is.

i returned a grin,
but i was nervous.
he did say i had a problem.

dr. kirshner explained that there were
only 6 documented cases
in the united states
of the autoimmune disease
he thought i had...
he was almost certain
i would test to be the seventh.

i became more nervous,
and my grin faded...

dr. kirshner: however, if it's what 
my initial diagnosis is,
we can control it
with medicine.

the release i felt
after hearing his last four words
was immeasurable!


dr. kirshner ran 
a series of blood tests
most of which i had never heard,
and he sent me for a scan.
john and i waited right there in x-ray
for my results
then took them back to his office
for a second consultation
before leaving for home.

dr. kirshner slid the panels into place.
he looked at them
then back at me...
then back at them.
with his index finger
he drew an imaginary circle
on the image 
around a portion of my brain.

dr. kirshner: this is stroking, dani,
just as i expected.


strokes in my early twenties...


several days later
when my blood test results
came in,
dr. kirshner called me.

dr. kirshner:  dani, this is howard kirshner
calling from the vanderbilt clinic.
the results
of your blood work
indicate i was correct
concerning my initial diagnosis.

he explained i had a blood clotting disease,
told me he was going
to start drug therapy
with coumadin (blood thinner).
he then proceeded to explain
the dangers of taking blood thinners.

i thought to myself...
stroking isn't going to kill me;
i'm going to surely bleed to death.


i never thought
i would see katherine grow up
much less
turn 21.

but, i have!
by the grace of God,
Dr. Larry Crick,
Dr. Howard Kirshner,
a very patient, loving husband,


i have experienced
the best of times
the worst of times;
i have lived to experience them
the good things motherhood
has had to offer.

i will be eternally grateful
for being granted the opportunity
to be katherine's mom
for this many years
and only pray
there will be many more
to come.

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

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