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All days come from one day, That much you must know
You cannot change what’s over,  But only where you go

Pilgrim by Enya

Last Saturday, February 4, was our 17th wedding anniversary. It was also the day of two six-year-old birthday parties that our son was to attend. The first birthday party was at Fun Quest in the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, NV, USA. At about 3:15 PM I was eating the remnants of the piece of birthday cake that my son barely touched when I felt woozy (a technical medical term.) It felt almost like the way I feel before I become sick, but I wasn’t nauseated. It passed, but I told my spouse that I may need to leave. She became concerned, but the feeling was slowly fading.

Paul Kiser

About five minutes later it happened again, but this time was stronger. My spouse left me, and I assumed that she was getting Alexander and saying our goodbyes. Shortly, Virginia,  the Grandmother of the birthday boy was sitting next to me. She was a nurse and she began asking some questions. Although I wasn’t presenting the classic symptoms of a stroke, I’m guessing that my behavior indicated that something neurological was amiss. Again, the feeling subsided.

In another five minutes it came back stronger. At this point I knew this may be more that just a sudden onset of a flu. Virginia asked me to lay down and I was in no position to disagree;; however, the moment I laid down I felt the I was gong to lose the cake I had eaten, so I stood back up. I don’t know exactly what I said, but I indicated I needed to leave and headed out of the room. My spouse had gathered up Alexander and Virginia came up to me and said to lean on her. I did and the farther we went the more I became reliant on her support as my balance forced me to fall to the right.

We finally got to our car and left for the Emergency Room at Renown Medical Center, which was a few blocks away. There was no wait. My situation seemed obvious to everyone that I needed medical assessment immediately. In ER my symptoms were a loss of balance, a feeling of weakness, extremely high blood pressure, a tingling on the right side of the face, tingly right fingers, and possibly some dropping around my right eye. My spouse summoned our son’s grandparents who came and eventually took Alexander to the next party in hopes of keeping him from becoming drawn into the drama that he couldn’t fully grasp.

Meanwhile the ER staff set about to learn what was going on in order to establish a treatment. As a precaution they were going to give me an aspirin. That’s when we discovered I couldn’t swallow even a sip of water, let alone a pill. A CAT scan was done with no overt indication of a stroke.

The feeling was that it was either a small stroke, or an infection, with a stroke being more likely. I was admitted into the neurological unit and scheduled for a MRI scan on Sunday morning. At this time my vision was still normal, and my strength was good on both sides of my body, but I couldn’t stand, nor swallow. It would be Sunday before the damage was complete and I would know why.