My Skills Saved The Day At The ER

As some of you heard, I recently endured an unexpected trip to the emergency room to rule out a stroke. Of course, what trip to the emergency room is really expected?

The boys and I enjoyed a fun day together. We started out with lunch followed by ice cream then some running around at a local bounce house that is useful for children to run off their limitless amounts of energy. This inside playground was especially helpful because it was rainy and wet outside.

During lunch I began to notice increasing numbness in my right finger. By the time we arrived at the bounce house the numbness and some tingling traveled up my right arm. Feeling concerned, I took some deep breaths to calm myself then I reviewed with my sons what to do in case of an emergency. I asked, “What is Daddy’s phone number?” then I calmly shared that if something strange happened and I was sick, strangers would try to help them. In this case, they should ask someone to call their father. Confused, they asked me why I was saying this. I assured them that probably nothing was going to happen to me, but, if something did happen they would be less afraid if they knew what to do. The boys nodded their heads in agreement and ran off to play again. At this point I called Chris and shared that I was feeling weird. He suggested I call our family doctor, who referred me to a walk-in clinic nearby.

I loaded the boys into my van and told them I needed to visit a doctor, but hopefully we would return to the bounce house for more fun. As expected, the boys were disappointed but I stayed grounded, kept the conversation light and calmed my fears so they would not become worried or anxious. We drove to the urgent care clinic and only later did I realize this was probably not a wise decision since I could have been having a stroke, but, at the time, no one even considered the possibility that I could be experiencing a stroke.

When I arrived at the urgent care they took me right in to see the doctor. The doctor tested me with the common stroke tests and felt it was unlikely I was having a stroke. However, she shared that the only way to rule out a stroke was to visit the hospital. When I asked if I could drive myself, the doctor gently laughed and said, “No, you need to go by an ambulance.” This response surprised me. After all, my 5 and 7 year-old boys were with me and my husband was over 35 minutes away. I asked if my sons could ride in the ambulance with me. The nurses were incredibly kind and they decided to call the ambulance service and ask about this. The office said this was not possible but a supervisor graciously offered to drive a second vehicle so my boys could follow the ambulance to the hospital. “Thank you Lord!” I whispered to myself. I sensed God’s provision.

I took a few deep breaths to make sure I was calm and peaceful, then I explained to Matthew and Andrew they were going on an adventure. I said, “Mommy is going to ride in an ambulance and you can follow me in another emergency vehicle!” They looked intrigued. At this point the boys helped the nurse find our van to retrieve booster seats and then the ambulance arrived. I was quickly loaded in then a flurry of tests were started as we drove off.

When we arrived at the hospital my husband was waiting to meet us. Matthew and Andrew jumped out and were all too eager to share about their exciting ride in the emergency vehicle. Their hands were filled with stickers and suckers the supervisor had given them. I was swiftly wheeled to the ER waiting room. Because the rooms were all filled, I was taken over to the admitting nurse so she could interview me about my condition. Chris and the boys waited in the lobby to see what would happen next. When I asked about the timeline, the nurse said it was likely I would be at the hospital for several hours. I encouraged Chris to take the boys to his parent’s house so they could get settled for the evening.

I am deeply grateful for the kind people who served me. I am relieved I could calm myself during the distressing situation so the boys would not feel afraid by the intensity of the circumstances. Because of these ingredients my sons thought the day was a fun adventure. If I would not have remained anchored during the storm because of the quieting skill, I believe this ordeal would have turned out much differently for all of us. Next week I will share more about my ER visit and how Immanuel met me during a stressful MRI test.

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7 comments

  1. Danielle Bowman says:

    I love God’s timing. I was sitting in the Dr’s office when I read this. I was feeling a little overwhelmed and nervous, but after reading your story I felt much better. I felt like I was not alone in my feelings and not powerless. I sighed a deep sigh of releif! Thanks Jen! 🙂

  2. Erna Topliffe says:

    Wow! I’m so glad you didn’t have a stroke, Jen. 🙂
    I went through a very similar experience recently. My beginning was having a lot of dizziness for about 10 days by the time I saw my GP. I thought I was having a bout of Meniere’s disease and would get some SERC pills and go home. Instead she asked me a ton of questions, excused herself from the room, came back and said, ‘You don’t have to go to the hospital right now, but I think you’ve had a mini stroke. The next 2-3 weeks are crucial as you could have more mini strokes or a large stroke’! To say I was shocked would be an understatement. In less than 2 days I was having a CAT scan. Immediately before the CAT scan I was given a paper to sign with all the difficult side effects that could happen from the dye that was going to be inserted into my vein. Then told I would have to stay very still, not swallow, not urinate, even though I’d feel like I would want to as I’d feel a warm flush in certain areas.
    I will be forever glad for the ‘Shalom My Body’ exercises I’d been practicing for about 2 years before this! When they slid me into the machine, instead of all the bunny trails of fear of what might happen due to the dye, my mind began to cycle “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You, O Lord’. Happily was able to complete the test without having to repeat it. I was also able to keep my relational circuits on and thank the attending technician for her kindness.
    A week after the CAT scan I saw a neurologist who ruled out a stroke. So glad my travel insurance won’t go up due to having a stroke before coming to Thrive in next July 🙂

    • Jen Coursey says:

      That does sound like a scary ordeal, I am glad you are ok, Erna! It is great to hear how the Shalom My Body exercises were able to help you during your test. I am very grateful for my skill and how far I have come. I would have been traumatized by an experience like this before I knew how to quiet myself and talk to Jesus.

  3. Elvira Brooks says:

    Sandy called me and I prayed for you but have not gotten any news on specifics. I am so glad you were not having a stroke. It was a weird day for Sandy and me too. Love how you are leaving us with a cliff-hanger! Can’t wait to see what happens next week. Thank you for the update and I am going to have to remember the Immanuel moments. Have not done it in a while and I have to find my book. God bless you Jen. Glad you are better.

    • Jen Coursey says:

      Thank you for your prayers Erna! I am also very grateful it did not turn out to be a stroke and that all of my symptoms have resolved and life has returned to normal.

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