That Saturday morning as in every Saturday morning I had no care in the world, I had no 40 patients lined up to see in the day's work, time was at my disposal. I entered the shower stall, with a long leisurely shower in mind, I enjoyed just that, a long leisurely shower. But I didn't make the water too hot. Hot water imparted comfort but it also made me tired. I didn't wish to get tired.
I planned for a day full of activities lying in front of me. At the top of the list, was to go to the gym to work out, to get the working out out of the way. I had a card from the Good Life gym offering me four sessions of free of charge work out I went there first. It was kind of empty. I guess too early in a Saturday morning. The front part was for men, the floor was slightly slippery from sweat the back part for women, and there the floor was dry, well polished. Why weren’t the women in the front part? I wondered. That went against my grain.
That the women worked out at the back, I left that place and went to the cedar springs racket club. The owner of that place played tennis with my husband and was also a friend of my husband and had offered me a life membership free of charge. Such a good fortune was beyond my wildest imagination. Jack Dennison, the owner, was a good-looking very friendly person who seemed to smile all the time, I considered him to be a super guy. He was single, a divorcee. That surprised me. I wondered how come all the single women of Queenston were not after him? I guess the single women had their reasons and I had mine.
At Cedar Springs I was let in by a swiping card and found out at the gym a democratic mixture of both the sexes. I liked that. I started my work out on my favorite machine, the treadmill. I started with walking quickly escalating to running feeling my heart thumping, in no time my face got flooded with a thin film of sweat. There was no headache, no lightheadedness, no dizziness. No visual problem, no speech problem. But all of a sudden the paws off a severe exhaustion gripped me and I slumped on the bottom of the machine. The guy on the adjacent machine told me ‘you are too tired to work out’ and he turned off my machine. For a few more seconds I remained slumped on the bottom of the machine, then I tried to get up, by stretching my legs, by stretching out my right arm, but nothing worked, I remained as slumped as ever the simple fact that I was paralyzed didn’t enter my numbed mind.
Soon people came over, and carried me to the floor. Miraculously Jack appeared and called 911, paramedics arrived. One of them whispered in my ear ‘you have a stroke’. I heard what he said, but failed to comprehend the meaning of it. I was utterly numb both physically and emotionally. The same paramedic got his face close to my eyes and told me ‘my name is Bob if you need anything just call for me’. In my confused state I believed if he can grant me anything, then is he God? I was aware that being so paralyzed meant that I was close to death and thereby close to God.
In a slow motion the paramedics lifted me up on the gurney and then in a slow motion they pushed the gurney inside the ambulance they took me to the regional hospital Joseph Brant hospital and bypassing the emergency and admitting. They took me directly to the intensive care unit. Just by chance the neurologist Dr. G. stood at the door of the intensive care unit. He told the medics to take me to the radiology department and get a CT scan of my head done. The CT scan was done in no time and I was back at the ICU under the care of Dr. G.
That was how innocuously the biggest disaster of my life was delivered at my doorstep. Afterwards, however, on the TV I witnessed as the Almighty did the same with thousands upon thousands of other unfortunates. In Tsunami, as folks strolled on the beach 16 feet tall walls of water swallowed them up. How about Hurricane Katrina, when survival of communities and neighborhoods was wiped away by devilish air and water force. I was only one of the thousands and thousands touched by a disaster that wiped away my whole life. My profession was gone, so was my thriving practice, so was my money earning capacity, so were my patients, so was my place of work, which I considered to be a slice of paradise.
We all human beings are aware that disaster can fly in our face at any moment, but we don’t live in anticipation that in the next moment a nuclear bomb is going to explode in my mouth. But if/or when it happens, we cope with it. The stroke left a similar feeing in my mouth, I was aware of the possibility of an untimely disaster, but when the nuclear bomb finally burst in my mouth, it tasted nothing but bitter and it sure knocked me off my feet. I keeled over. From surprise?
From paralysis? I am not sure. That was how stroke visited me and stole my body parts, never to return them again. What has this taught me? To be scared all the time? Since a disaster might hit me right now? No, my learning has been just the opposite. I have surrendered to the Almighty, only He can determine my fate, let that be his job. I, on the other hand, go on with my life, savor every moment of my deliciously bitter-sweet life. Yes, I have found the nice division of labor between the Almighty and I, and carry on living life happily.