Earlier tonight, I think I had a mild stroke. I was watching TV when, suddenly, my eyes went out of focus, and stayed that way for about two minutes, despite every effort I made to refocus them. It was like I'd forgotten how to do it.
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When it was over, and I could focus again, I felt a little unreal, and immediately got up out of my chair and, standing, touched my left foot with my right hand, then my right foot with my left hand, to check the coordination on both sides of my body. I then looked at some printed matter, to see if I could read without difficulty, then checked my eyes again, by tracking from left to right, and back again.
I'd been watching a comedy show on TV, and, because I was fairly sure I was having a stroke, I felt it was important to see if I still had my sense of humor. The next couple of laughs in the program settled that point.
The difficulty I'd had focusing was so intense that I still wasn't sure the problem was over simply because my eyes had re-focused. I picked up the phone to call the desk downstairs and felt uncertain that I could punch in the 7-digit number, then wondered if I shouldn't call 911 instead. I still wasn't sure how serious it was, so, rather than call 911, I got up and walked out of my room, down the hall, and got on the elevator to go downstairs. My large-muscle coordination seemed okay, and I could still focus.
Gary was working the desk, and Ken Dunn was leaning over the counter, talking to him. We're all old farts, and old friends, so I wasn't afraid of scaring them about dying, and I told them I thought I was having a stroke, and why, and that I wasn't sure it was finished with me. We agreed that I probably should eat some aspirin to slow my blood clotting. Gary told me he didn't have any aspirin at the desk, and I told him I had some in my room.
Just then, the elevator opened again and Brack Stamper stepped off, telling all three of us at once, "Mr. Mack's fallen in the garbage room, and he's saying something is eating his mind. I can't get him up." Brack's 73, and Mack's 75, but Brack always calls him Mr. Mack. Mack sometimes has delusions, but his physical disabilities are real: his back is so bent he can barely walk. Gary, Brack and I went up to the second floor and found him on the floor of the garbage room, his pants down around his knees, with his ass stuck in one of the plastic bins we use for recycling. Apparently he'd got confused, and thought he'd entered the bathroom next door.
Gary and I reached beneath his armpits from each side, pulled him to his feet, and managed to get his pants back up, then, supporting him from both sides, helped him back to his room. On the way, I couldn't help thinking, 'Gary Banta, you're my brother for life.'
We helped Mack across his room and got him set on his bed. We all have to go, but we don't want any of us to go down.