My very best friend, Aimee (whose pictures you can see in my flickr account), a wonderful, kind, sweet, giving, 25 year old, has suffered what appears to be a stroke.
Yesterday, at lunch, she and I went to the blood drive in our building to do our part. I was declined to donate, because I currently have a nasty case of bronchitis and am on antibiotics. I hung around to wait while Aimee gave blood, and to keep her company. After swabbing her arm with iodine, and before inserting the needle, I saw Aimee give me a funny look, then turn to talk to the nurse. I saw the nurse call over another, and then saw them put away the tubes and collection bag. I walked over to see what was happening, and Aimee told me (in a very slurred voice) that she didn't "feel right". The nurse asked if this was how she always talked and I told her "no". Then, I noticed that the right side of Aimee's mouth was drooping. So I asked Aimee to smile, and when she could only smile with the left side of her mouth, I knew something serious was going on. "Stroke" immediately entered my mind, but I dismissed it, because Aimee is not in a high risk category, and she was fine a few minutes before. The nurse called over her supervisor, who then called the on-call Dr. on her cell. The Dr. said that she should see her Dr., but that it was probably nervousness from donating. The nurses kept taking Aimee's blood pressure, and were trying to keep her calm, as was I. In the meantime, she was deteriorating to the point where she had weakness on her entire right side. She could barely move her limbs in that side and felt a "tingling" sensation in her right hand. I called her grandmother (who is our boss) to come up, and by the time she arrived, the decision had been made to take her to the ER. After I had to come back up to our office (leaving Aimee w/her grandmother), the decision to transport her via ambulance had been made. At the hospital, Aimee underwent a CT scan, and numerous other tests, but nothing came of it. She is now at the Dr.'s office, who will hopefully be able to shed some light on this mystery. She is still having problems with weakness, and some slurred speech, which continues to make me think she's had a stroke.
Needless to say, I am beside myself with worry. How can something like this happen to a perfectly normal, healthy, almost-26 year old woman? I feel so completely helpless, and don't know what to do with myself. I know all I can do is be there for her, and support her, no matter what happens. I guess this just drives home the point that anything can happen to any of us, at anytime. You never know. And that's what makes me most scared of all.....
*Updated to add: I've spoken with Aimee's grandmother (my boss), who has confirmed via the Dr., that she has indeed suffered a mild stroke. The Dr. is very optimistic that thanks to her age and health, she'll recover quickly. He even expressed that he thinks she'll regain full use of her right arm/hand within the next 10 days or so. She has to undergo physical therapy everyday, and is on various medications, including blood thinners. She'll have an MRI, echocardiogram, and ultrasound next Wednesday to see if they can determine not only what caused the stroke, but see if there is any permanent damage.*