Memories of my brain attack, part I “invisibility cloak”

Several people have asked me to recall my memories of Thursday when my stroke hit me. This blog entry is a summary of what transpired. It’s pretty boring if you came for a technical communication blog entry, so please send small children, kittens, and project managers out of the room while I try to recall the events.

I was off work Thursday, but went in to enjoy the great food and fun at Sales’ holiday luncheon, and with Ric’s prodding, led the division in a round of Jingle Bells. On my way out, I told Farebrother I’d see him later that night at the performance of “An Evening in December.” After some last-minute Christmas shopping, I was walking back to my car, when I stopped in my tracks.


Something looked funny out of the corner of my eye. Actually both eyes, sort of like when you just wake up and can’t quite focus clearly. I blinked, but the vision problem persisted. I closed one eye, then the other, and noticed it wasn’t “blurry,” or black, it was just “gone.” Images just disappeared to my right. Imagine holding your hand in front of your eyes, moving your hand to the right, and seeing it disappear as if behind Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak. Neat trick! Except this wasn’t a movie, it was real.

Taking inventory

For some reason, probably from my floor monitor training (thanks Bart Triesch), I started taking inventory to see “who was missing.” Wiggling left and right foot, left and right hand, sticking tongue left and right, counting backwards, reciting alphabet up and back, all while standing next to my parked car in the shopping center.
Everything checked out fine, except for the “lost vision.” It was like I was onstage, but a curtain was down on the entire right side of the stage, while the show was going on. (Hey, can someone raise this curtain while I’m in the middle of this scene, please?)

Driving home

So, being of sound mind and body, I drove the six blocks home (yikes!), spinning my head from side to side to catch anything that might be coming at me from my right. If you were in one of the dozen cars I passed that afternoon, I apologize again for driving what seemed like seven miles an hour, probably taking up the entire center of the road. I remember seeing the face of an oncoming driver, angry at me as I went down my street. I was probably overcompensating and driving down the center of the road. (“Sorry! Hey, I didn’t kill anyone, and let’s agree that there are worse things on the road coming at you…a teenager yakkin’ on a phone blastin’ some garbage that has no business being classified in the same breath as Earth, Wind, and Fire, or Darlene Zschech and Hillsongs, but forgive me as I rant. Where was I?…)

Clues that somethin’ was wrong

I took a nap, woke up a half hour later, and called my wife, wondering why we weren’t all home getting ready for the show. (Later, she’d tell me that “conversation was weird.”) Hung up, then called her right back within seconds to say: “hon, I lost my vision on my right side.” She said she’d head right home, and called her brother Bill to take me right to our eye doctor. That office (Drs. Gerard and Miyamura) had me come right in. On the ride there, Bill said I was a little stranger than the usual strange. OK, those of you that really know me, know that strange is a relative term.

Next chapter, at the doctor’s office

While waiting for Pam to get there, they humored me, ran a visual fields test and the printout showed no vision from a quarter of the pie, like from “noon to 3:00.” (Hey, who cut a piece of pie and didn’t tell me?)
Pam is the calmest, coolest, most sensible person on this planet, unlike people I know who shall go nameless who would have been hysterical, asking me a million stupid questions that would have made me more nervous like “oh no! what’s the matter? How come you can’t see? Can you see my hand waving? What did you do? Why’d you drive home?” and other stupid questions that you can see now make no difference. But I digress, and if you know someone like that person, I can claim ignorance.

to be continued….

Related entries
Previous: You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet
Next: Credible source notes 


11 thoughts on “Memories of my brain attack, part I “invisibility cloak”

  1. Thanks for doing this, Andy. It’s going to stick with me a lot better than the nth time I’ve been told what “typical” stroke symptoms are. Best wishes for your complete recovery!


  2. Sounds like your humor is still intact! Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery. We will miss you at the hoilday luncheons.
    Wishing you and yours a great holiday season!

    Renate Cooper
    Customer Serivce/choir


  3. Hey, where’s the rest of the story? How did you get from the eye doctor to the hospital? Do they know why you had a stroke? Possiblity of having another one? We’re so glad you’re doing well Andy!


  4. I was so shocked to hear that you had a stroke. You, a person that has so much energy and warmth and a zest for life! It sounds like you still have your sense of humor, which I think is very important! Here’s to a fast and complete recovery!


  5. You inspire me! I’ve been getting updates from my Mom who got to see you perform with the “top hats”. I’m so glad to know that you’re improving and that you’re able to share your experiences and lessons. I continue to pray for you and your family. Keep singing, Andy!


  6. Pingback: Love Your Users » Quality communications in sickness and in health

  7. Andy,

    Remember that you wanted to include the statement that you didn’t think it was a stroke because you didn’t have any headaches. Yours was different than my mini-strokes. Also, did you still want to post about the disorientation going to the eye doc?


  8. Pingback: Memories of my brain attack, part II "bizarro behavior" « “geeWHIZ”

  9. Pingback: You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet « “geeWHIZ”

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