17 years young, motivated to finish school and start a dual degree. That was my plan. But then something unexpected happened to me on vacation, which should change my whole life forever. I suffered a stroke.
But let’s start from the beginning. I was on vacation with my family in Sydney, Australia. We had arrived from Vietnam the night before and had not seen much yet. The real sightseeing would take place on the 2nd day. Said, done =)
Blessing in disguise
You know the Harbor Bridge, right? One of the landmarks of Sydney. A bridge that serves as the main link between the north and south coasts of Sydney. You can climb that bridge. Since my sister and I are actually adrenaline junkies and our dad offered us the opportunity to climb up there, we did not hesitate and signed up. For those who are interested I will post the link to the “Bridge Climb” below.
After the registration, we were ready to start. We started with a briefing on what to do, what hand signals meant what and of course what you do in an emergency. We came into the preparation room, where we could put the suits on and there it happened. Attention now comes a quiet detailed description of what it’s like to have a stroke. Reading at your own responsibility (I do not know how though you are;)).
I started to get extreme headaches, so strong that I started to cry. I did not want to cry, but the pain was unbearable. And suddenly I lost the feeling in my right arm. Suddenly panic went all over me. I alerted my sister that I could not feel my right arm anymore and from there on my memory becomes black. I probably fainted at that moment. But every now and then I can remember short moments. It is actually exactly as shown in the movies. The vision gets blurry, your ears go numb, you hear people say things and they try to keep you awake. It’s like being overly tired and trying not to fall asleep. Again and again I heard the words “Stay with us!”. The voices sound so dull and distant. As I said, it’s like in the movies. I looked at the ceiling and saw the lights racing past me. That’s all I remember. But now I know, they acted quickly and operated me immediately. For those who are curious how the operation went: they cut my scalp and removed the skullcap/flap bone. The pressure is dangerous and could lead to even more complications. It is fascinating what the medicine is all capable of.
Waking up from a coma
I do not know if I was going into an artificial coma, but I still know what it was like to wake up. I woke up wondering where I was. So I did the obvious and called “Hello?”. “Helloooo” I wanted to call. But I could not get a sound out.
Why wasn’t I able to talk? Panic was spreading in me again. I tried to scream. But even then – no sound. I got a tracheotomy. This didn’t allow me to speak. And here my memory goes blank again.
At some point, I was awake again and could see my mother. At some point my brain could remember things again. But the short period after the stroke, this period, it seems like my brain wants to forget it. I just can not remember this period. And so my fight back into life starts…
That reminds me, I want to say a big thank you to the bridge climb team, who also visited me back then in the hospital. Maybe one day, I will be able to visit Sydney and then I might be able to climb the bridge again =)
Here’s the link to the bridge climb: