What My Stroke Taught Me – Part 2

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May is National Stroke Awareness Month, so it feels like the right time to talk about what I learned from having a stroke – someone with zero risk factors. In part 1, I shared the moment the stroke happened. Here in part 2, I’ll share what came after and what I learned from being a stroke survivor.

So where were we…

I had a stroke in the parking lot of Whole Foods 42 minutes after a great 10-mile run on my favorite trail. I had been training for a half marathon. I painstakingly made my way back to my truck. The symptoms seemed to subside. I drove myself home. In hindsight, not the brightest idea of mine but we’ll put that in the bucket with the rest of them.

I walked into the house feeling out of sorts but keenly aware that my kids were home. My 19-year-old son was on his way out the door to work. I waved bye and told him to have a great day with a new lopsided smile. My 17-year-old daughter came around the corner and asked how my run went. I said, in what was I hoped was a neutral voice, “I think I had a stroke. I’m going to call an Uber and go to the hospital. Just to be safe. Nothing for you to worry about. But I have to shower first.”

Needless to say, she said absolutely NOT to the Uber and insisted on driving me. I didn’t argue with her. But I did shower. I’d just run 10 miles in 65-degree weather. I figured I had time, I remembered reading you had 3-4 hours to get to the hospital and get the “stroke drug.” Rightly or wrongly, as a runner, I am extremely dialed into my body and trust my instincts. I knew and felt in my bones that I had at least time for a quick shower. (If, in fact, I was even having the stroke that every fiber in my being told me I was having, which seemed inconceivable, given that I ate healthy, ran 30 miles a week, and did all the right things.)

Taking time to shower was a bad idea, as I was later told by the healthcare professionals who treated me. If you even THINK you are having a stroke, get your ass, no matter how sweaty, to the hospital ASAP. Call 9-1-1.

Duly noted.

The Hospital

It was a reality TV montage of moments forever seared into every fiber of my being that I can never run fast or far enough to forget.

Continue reading “What My Stroke Taught Me – Part 2”

open platform…open mind?

One of the cool parts of my job is that I get to learn about some really cool, complex stuff that is completely outside of my realm of expertise or reality. The second coolest part is that I get to work with a lot of really smart people who take the time to explain it to me. 🙂 (They are *mostly* very patient of my questions and ignorance.) The reason I am invited to this party is because I have a knack for translating complicated stuff and making it easy for people to understand. One concept that I am learning about right now is the open platform. Here is a more ‘formal’ explanation from Wikipedia:

In computing, an open platform describes a software system which is based on open standards, such as published and fully documented external application programming interfaces (API) that allow using the software to function in other ways than the original programmer intended, without requiring modification of the source code. Using these interfaces, a third party could integrate with the platform to add functionality. The opposite is a closed platform.

Open to - piercings? I ran across Elaine Davidson, dubbed the world's most pierced woman, on the street in Edinburgh, Scotland in April.
Open to – piercings? I ran across Elaine Davidson, dubbed the world’s most pierced woman, on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland in April.

Now, being a thinker (much to my detriment at times, especially when I OVERthink), I started thinking about this concept of open in terms of real life. Some people are too open; translated, we call this over sharing, TMI (too much information), PIA (pain in the ass), etc. (Not sure what this looks like? Find a hypochondriac on Facebook.) Some people are too closed; translated, we call this shut down; small-minded; or someone in need of a stiff drink.

But what if we applied the concept of an open platform to our own lives and way of thinking? We’re all born with a certain temperament, aptitude and skill set. Putting the nature vs. nurture debate aside, what if we could open our minds to different ways of thinking, problem solving, and basically our whole approach to life? We’re already halfway there with our standards and systems: structured education programs, religion, hell, even books like All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (we start young, don’t we?).

Continue reading “open platform…open mind?”