You are here

Flannery M.

January 14, 2017

I am ... A Survivor

May 13, 2015, a day I will remember until I die or my memory fails entirely.  I will remember that it was a Wednesday near the end of my middle school career, three days before my 13th birthday. That morning I woke up at 4:30 and completed packing for the three-day camping trip I was to join my eighth-grade class on that day.  I ate a quick breakfast of Honey Nut Cheerios and a whole grapefruit. In my hurry, I somehow managed to forget one of the most crucial items I would need for the trip; I forgot my water bottle.  I hopped in my father’s silver pick-up truck, and we drove the ten minutes it took to get from my house to Ridgway Secondary School.  When I arrived on My school’s campus, I immediately spotted some of my classmates carrying their assorted baggage, mostly colorful duffle bags, towards the front door.  I nearly asked my father if he would drive me home, wanting to skip the trip altogether.  I eventually toughened up and followed my classmates towards the door. We were to have the final gear check before leaving. It wasn’t until halfway through the gear check that I realized I did not have my water bottle. Luckily, my best friend lived near the school, and her dad was chaperoning the trip. He ran to his house to get a water bottle for me to borrow.  We boarded the bus and took off towards Moab, Utah.  I remember each and every song I heard during the ride, but I won’t list them all.  Once in Moab, We took an hour long hike. On the hike, I quickly ran out of water and developed a slight headache, nothing serious, or so I thought.  We got back on the bus and headed towards camp; we ate our lunches on the bus. I had a Peanut butter and jelly sandwich and lemonade; both were sampled by my friend sitting behind me.  Once we got to our campsite, we set up our tents and ate a dinner of pasta salad, which was disgusting, and chicken.  After dinner, I shoot some video clips for a video I planned to make during the trip.  There was to be a bonfire shortly, so My tent mates and I decided to change our shoes.  We were running through a creek bed to where the fire was, and suddenly I felt the most severe pain I can imagine on the right side of my head. I thought someone had hit me in the head with a newly sharpened ax. My vision was gone for the most part.  I climbed out of the creek bed and sat down on a trailer with some help from my friends.  I was complaining of a headache and having to use the restroom. I grew tired and decided to lay down. When I tried to get up, I realized that I could not. All of the adults and my fellow students attempted to get me up, with little luck until my best friends dad, the one who got me a water bottle before we left, along with another chaperone and the bus driver got me up and placed me in the bed of a truck.  I fell asleep in the truck.  They drove me to the clinic in Moab, where they gave me a CT scan and loaded me into a helicopter headed to Salt Lake City.   I woke up in a hospital room at the University of Utah hospital, where I nearly had to have a brain surgery which would have required part of my brain in a freezer for six weeks.   I was paralyzed on my left side for one or two weeks.  I had to learn to walk, eat, and use my left side again. I was in the hospital for a little bit more than a month. 

After leaving Utah, my care was transferred to Children’s Hospital Colorado, where it was discovered that my stroke had been caused by CNS vasculitis. I still visit my doctor, Dr. Timothy Bernard, every six months. More than a year and a half later, I am mostly back to normal except for some personality changes and left-sided weakness.    

Find a Support Group

Go

Get Involved

 

For over 30 years we have been the trusted source for free resources and education to the stroke community. Together, we empower survivors and their circle of care to thrive after stroke. Make your tax-deductible donation today to support the growing needs of the stroke community.