How I Spent My Saturday

Beautiful day here in Tulsa yesterday. Sunny, not too windy, in the mid-70s, it was about as perfect a fall day as you will find.

I thought it the perfect day to ride in an ambulance.

I’ve been feeling very not well for several months now. It’s a general weakness, accompanied by dizziness and  a faint-like feeling. All in all, not painful, but not really conducive to dancing and singing now, is it? There have been days when I could not stand up, let alone walk around and greet guests at my Target. I hate missing work. I hate letting others down and having them have to do my job for me. (Yes, it’s all part of the “I’m in charge of my own life” syndrome I was born with. We can deal with that another day.)

Yesterday I was patrolling the aisles of my electronics department, helping people find things, feeling fine. Then … here it came again. I found myself using shelves to be able to stand upright as I walked. I was having trouble focusing my eyes. I could hear people speak to me loud and clear, it just sounded like it was really, really far away. My face and lips went numb. Not one of my better days. I found my boss who took the keys to the kingdom of Target electronics from me and sent me home.

I texted a friend who said my symptoms sounded like those of a stroke. No, I thought. I’m not having a stroke. I’m just … I looked up “stroke symptoms” online and I had four out of five. Not quite a full house, but still a potential winning hand. I called my daughter to come over. She, in turn, called my other daughter who called me.

“Daddy, if you think you might be having a stroke, you need to call the ambulance.” I joked around with her (why is it that when I am afraid I make jokes? Did you hear the one about the Young Earth Creationist, the Evangelical Megachurch Pastor, and the iMonk who walked into a bar?) until she said she would call 9-1-1 for me. In a few minutes I heard the siren coming up my street.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I still have enough little boy left in me that when I hear a siren I run to the window to look and see where they are going. If they were to stop near my house, I want to pull up a chair and watch. Or go stand in the street with other neighbors and use my vast medical knowledge to make a guess what might be happening inside. Now I was the star of the show, and I wasn’t as excited as I thought I might be.

The medical technicians came in and hooked me up to some contraption with bells and lights and I don’t know what all, and said they didn’t think I was having a stroke. Still, something was going on, so what hospital did I want to go to? I selected an older but nationally-acclaimed hospital after they frowned on the one close to my house I first suggested. (“I wouldn’t go there,” the one said. Ok then.) They put me on a rolling bed and shoved me out—in front of everyone—into their truck. They started hooking up an IV for me, strapped me in, and, after 45 minutes of questions (seriously), off we went.

(My daughters had both arrived and got to see me before we took off. The two EMTs said, “Just to let you know, your daughters are beautiful. Also to let you know, we are both very single.” I was sorry to have to dash their dreams by telling them my daughters are both very married.)

Once at the hospital, it was lie around and wait. And wait. And wait. Yes, there was a small TV there so I could watch some football, but the games were so boring I almost went into a coma. A friend came by to read to me a story about sour potatoes and a loose bolt under a spring wagon, which had me laughing. Finally a doctor came in, ordered a CT scan and chest xray, then came back in a while to say the results showed nothing unusual.

“Then what is wrong with me?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she said. “See your doctor next week.”

Sigh …

Then I went home and watched the Sooners lose.

That was my Saturday. How was yours?

(Oh, just to let you know: the CT scan shows I do have a brain, and the chest xray shows I have a heart. So there.)

34 thoughts on “How I Spent My Saturday

  1. I was in Tulsa visiting friends on Saturday. Maybe you were in one of the ambulances that went by?

    Praying that you fully recover. But wait…do any of us “fully recover” in this life???



  2. As one who has been dealing with health issues this past year I know how important it is to take control….yes this time take control….and keep pushing till you get this resolved. Nothing wrong with going to more than one doctor or specialist. I had a neurologist who was totally way off course with what was going on with me and if I didn’t take initiative to seek out other opinions who knows where I’d be today…..

    With all that has been said in the above posts, Jeff, I hope you well realize how much you are respected and loved and how many lives you have blessed.

    In prayer



  3. Jeff, we’re praying for you here in Maryland.

    As everyone else said: Get to a good doctor and check out everything you can. Also, I get the idea that they can tell more about what may be the matter, the closer you are to the event.

    Feel better soon!


  4. The symptoms sound like hypoglycemia. You may want your doctor to do a serious blood-sugar workup.


  5. Praying for you.
    Also, in case you don’t actually have a punch line, here’s one: they walk into the bar, the bartender looks them over and says, “what is this a joke?”


  6. Jeff,

    I think that your mind knew (somehow) that the Sooners were going to lose and your body was rejecting that information, mainfesting itself in the sypmtoms that you exhibited.

    Take care of yourself, my friend and take it easy (ier).

    I’ll be praying that they (your doctors) can figure it out and fix it.


  7. Jeff,Giant cell arteritis and other autoimmune diseases come to mind. Please follow up with your Doc and insist he keeps going until you have an answer.


  8. Take care of yourself, Jeff. We all value you too much for you to be incapacitated, but you take all the rest time you need…and see your doctor!

    Dang, I hope my wife doesn’t see this. She’s been after me to get a physical for a while…

    I’ll be praying for you.


  9. Ok, Jeff. Having read through these responses, know two things: 1. You are loved. 2. Get to the doc. will await the next installment, ‘How I spent time waiting in the doctor’s office’. And that punch line.


  10. Don’t take this the way it sounds, Jeff, but don’t be a man — go to your doctor immediately! I have heart issues, and you don’t want to play around with either heart or brain. Praying for you.


  11. JEFF!!! This is one of your local I-Monk health care professionals here, and I am concerned and praying as well. PLEASE get in to see a doctor today and get a referral to a neurologist. At the very least, what you describe is a neurological problem involving a complex feedback system that is out of tune. Despite all the stress you have been under, which might have made this worse, these syptoms are too severe and localized to be “only” stress.

    The other possibility is something called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) which is, essentially, a “mini-stroke” that resolves on its own. These can be from a tiny blood clot or from a spasm in a major blood vessel in the head…both temporarily cut off blood and oxygen to the brain. However, not only do TIA’s repeat themselves, they are the NUMBER ONE PREDICTOR of a “real” stroke, with permanent problems.

    I do not want to scare you, but strokes are BRAIN ATTACKS, and are not to be taken lightly. Please get checked out, as you may need medication to “thin” your blood or other procedures that can trap clots before they get to your head, lungs, or heart. In the meantime, drink lots and lots of water and get your doctor’s office the minute they open for that appointment, Be SURE to tell the receptionist that you were in the ER over the weekend with neurological problems and need to be seen TODAY!!!! ((Jeff)))


  12. Oh, Jeff, much sympathy and please, please, please annoy your doctor about this! It could be something to do with blood pressure (it’s possible to have it too low as well as too high) or a lingering lung infection, but I don’t even play a doctor on tv so I won’t remote diagnose.

    Glad that nothing serious happened, and yes, hanging around in the emergency room for six/nine/twelve hours until the symptoms go away of their own accord is boring beyond belief, but better to be on a trolley in a hospital corridor than at home and two o’clock in the morning you need an ambulance in a hurry.

    Prayers to Ss. Cosmas and Damian, St. Luke, and the Archangel Raphael for you!


  13. Oh my, Jeff, what a Saturday, what a last couple of months you’ve had dealing with this. I so appreciate your willingness to share what is going on in your life–it is an encouragement. I’m pretty sure none of us here were surprised at the CT scan results: having a brain and a heart was an obvious given!
    Praying for you; my dad has had several strokes, and yes, you have to laugh through them, and he continues to have tia’s; my dad-in-law had one which pretty much stopped his life-as-he-knew-it.
    Take care of yourself, I really want to hear the end of that joke!! 🙂


  14. Hey Jeff – your body is warning you about something that could happen in the near future – hopefully its a case of vertigo or inner ear infection – and hopefully they also give you a stress test to rule out clogged arteries (especially in your neck). Make sure you take care of this immediately with your doctor!


  15. Prayers are with you. Definitely follow up with your doctor, and don’t quit until you get an answer. If they’ve ruled out stroke or cardiac possibilities, it could be neurological. Sometimes it takes a specialist to pin these things down.

    Speaking from experience, for ER waits, about the only thing that works is to show up with a heart problem. Then you get in fast. 🙂


  16. Just in case the doctors can’t nail it down, I had similar symptoms when I got a bad panic attack that affected my blood pressure. We had an issue with my nephew that reminded me of the hard times I had with my oldest brother growing up. I had no idea such things could still affect you in adulthood. The good news is God brings that sort of thing up, in order to heal it.


  17. Isn’t a ride in an ambulance fun? Just like a limo only without the comfort or prestige. Take care of yourself so we can have breakfast and watch spring baseball.


  18. Take care of yourself Jeff, we need you around here. I had something like that once that went on for weeks (mainly severe dizziness and lightheadedness), and it turned out to be a side effect from a med. None of the doctors picked up on it, but later I researched one of the meds, found a possibility, quit taking it, and the symptoms disappeared.

    My prayers are with you.


  19. Please, please follow up with your doctor, friend. I’ve lost people I cared deeply about because they didn’t know to go to the doctor when they really needed to.


  20. We were talking with a good friend in Oneida, KY about a friend of ours in Tulsa, expressing concern in our conversation about his health and some of the problems he’s been having. Now I come home and read this. My prayer life just intensified a little bit.


  21. Go get this looked at Jeff. You never know when a weird feeling is an early indicator of something more serious. Guys our age can’t shrug this stuff off.

    You’ll start feeling better about everything if you start following Southeastern conference football, a conference everyone wants to get into, rather than out of.


  22. And it’s obvious that you have courage along with that brain and heart.

    Jeff, don’t do this to us. I just heard a few hours ago that a close friend had a stroke today. She was life-flighted off the island by helicopter and is already in her second hospital. So don’t do this. Find out what it is you’ve got and take care of it pronto.

    But on the lighter side, I want to hear the punch line of that joke.


  23. That is scary… Gee, I think your boss should have called for ambulance, not to be snarky, but is your boss a man? Now please tell us you will follow up with your Dr! My husband has refused on two occasions to let me take him to E.R. The first time he was internally bleeding, which we didn’t know, he insisted it was just the flu, next day he ends up in ICU because he had a very low blood count and low blood pressure. 2nd time, he said he felt funny, weak, what he didn’t tell me was his vision was blurring, he just went to bed. Woke me up at 2:00 slurring his words, I thought he was having a stroke, turned out to be diabetic coma… I just don’t understand why some men don’t want to go to Dr’s. or hospitals… Prayers for you for sure!


  24. Gee, Jeff, I hope your doctor can figure out what is going on with you! It could be dangerous if you were driving and had one of these episodes. Even walking down stairs and having one of these could hurt you. I hope you are able to get back to feeling well soon.


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