Here's what frightens you when you've had a stroke, and with any luck, will scare you into healthier habits:
- Fear of dying alone. The thought of waking up partially paralyzed or having one one night and not having your phone handy to call for help is almost paralyzing in itself.
- Grand Mal seizures. Strokes are almost always accompanied by grand mals, which was something I wish my family, who is riddled with a history of strokes in the first place, would have told me before I had mine. They are a work of hell, and if you have one just hope you black out first, which happens half the time. Because being conscious during one sucks and is frightening beyond what you can imagine. It is the closest you can get to believing you're going to die without actually being in danger of dying.
- Incontinence. I don't know if I peed or pooped myself with my first stroke/seizure, I imagine that in the very least if it was the latter I would have seen evidence of it later, but it's pretty common. After researching strokes and seizures, I recognized what was going on when I saw a plump young lady lying in the floor of a gas station convenience store. As I finished pumping gas, I noticed the commotion at the entrance and recognized that there was a medical emergency going on inside... employees who would normally be at the cash register were standing in the doorway watching for the ambulance to signal them inside. Inside, a woman lay motionless, and had peed herself, and I knew what had happened. So knowing this, you tend to always "go" when even the slightest indication is made, because you don't want the embarrassment if you have a seizure.
Speaking of which, if somebody is having a seizure, here's what you do:
- Ignore conventional wisdom and do not try to stick a belt in their mouth, unless you have a hankering to have one of your fingers bitten off, which there's more of a chance of happening since the jaw will likely contract with the fury of an unfed and angry drug dealer's pit bull who's had to put up with Michael Vick's bullshit for too long. More people lose fingers this way than lose bits of tongue, plus, the tongue is the most resilient scar-free part of the body... even if you give yourself a nasty bite (and I have) as long as you let it heal naturally it will be back to normal. Within reason, I mean.
- Get the victim to lie down on their side, probably their LEFT side. This lessens the chance of injury to the tongue as the tongue will naturally slide back as the convulsions increase, and the jaw can clamp down without damage.
- Move any furniture that might hurt the victim of the seizure from his or her immediate vincinity. This is how most seizures cause injuries, so it's pretty important.
- Don't make incontinence jokes until after the victim is released from the emergency room. For fuck's sake.
Actually most seizures don't really require an emergency room trip, but if you're not familiar with what can happen, you'll probably call an ambulance. Luckily we have Obamacare now, and it's less likely that your call will bankrupt the victim. THANKS OBAMA.