On May 12, 2020, sometime after 4:00PM, I had a stroke. I was in my chair, at my computer, conference call up and running, yet on mute, and then, I felt the massive headache, losing consciousness, loss of speech, unable to move and get up from my chair. All of these main symptoms indicating that I had a stroke.
I remember that day. I remember those hours. I remember the conference call running on mute. I remember not having the ability to move correctly, inability to speak, unable to call for help. My door was shut.
Sometime after 8:00PM, I made myself get up. I made myself gather my belongings, open the door, walk out into the hallway, made myself walk out of the building and into the parking lot. Luckily, the first responders had noticed me walking abnormally and immediately came out and over to me in the parking lot. The ambulance was only a few minutes away.
As soon as the ambulance arrived, they had me on the road to Greenville. Once at the hospital, the series of tests seemed unending. I was in and out for several days. I remember the doctors and nurses coming in and out of the room. I remember my wife and family calling in to my room to FaceTime in light of the Covid-19 protocols. Still, I could hardly speak, but I knew they were beside me.
After several days, they transferred me to a rehab facility that is attached to the hospital. My motor functions came back very quickly, but my speech lagged behind. It had recovered enough to send me home, and they allowed my wife, who I had not seen since the morning of May 12, come in to the rehab facility to help me head home. As everyone is aware, reading these CaringBridge posts, she is my everything!
From there, and throughout the Summer, I had Speech Therapy multiple times each week. Thank you towards Andrea Storie for her guidance, patience, and her willingness to answer any question that I may have during therapy. Thank You Andrea!
From there, I was transferred to Wake Forest in Winston Salem, NC for the next steps with the stroke. After meeting with many members of the Wake Forest medical team, we were able to decide on the Gamma Knife procedure to focus the therapy by using radiation onto the problematic area. This procedure lasted all day, with the frame fitting, MRI, arteriogram, and then the Gamma Knife itself. Afterwards, after removing the frame (which i passed out during its "fitting" the first time), my head was killing me. My wife, once leaving the hospital, stopped and bought some extra strength Tylenol, which I immediately took, and then I was off to bed at the hotel sleeping for about 3 hours. I woke up, had pizza with my wife and family, and then I was sound asleep again.
The next morning, I felt like a brand new man. I was more clear in my speech, and I felt great overall. I told my wife, who had already planned the second day and night, that we should pack our things and head home. She was amazed at my speech, and we headed home.
Every day, sometimes week to week, my speech has become clearer. I continue to rehab every day by speaking on the phone, in conference calls, or speaking to someone one on one. When I returned to Wake Forest in February this year, to attend my 6 month Gamma Knife checkup, I could tell how happy everyone was by their demeanor. The checkup went great, and I would say that I am ahead of the pace that they set for me. Dr. Laxton, Dr. Chan, and Dr. Fargen, thank you for all of your efforts to date!
Now, as of tomorrow morning, I will return to my previous role as Operations Manager. It amazes me that I am feeling as good as I am, and my speech continues to get better with each passing day. Tomorrow, I will resume my career by managing the people I love working with each and every day. To those of you who gave to my family cards, letters, or food along the way, Thank You from my heart. It amazes me how many people from work were at our front porch, knocking on the door, and leaving a meal. Back in May last year, we needed it and are greatly appreciative.
Lastly, to my wife, every one needs a rock star when they go through something such as this. They need someone to go to the appointments, someone to help decide the treatments, someone to be there by my side every step of the way. You are here, good or bad, and no matter what the cost. Your bravery on each CaringBridge post, regardless if I was feeling good or not so good, is something that we all see and read with each lasting post. I love you Emily. Thank you for taking great care with me.
Daniel Ramsey Hudson