On July 29th, I woke up and began my day like any other. I had a cup of coffee and began reading my Greek New Testament. When my wife entered the room, we greeted each other with our usual, "Good morning. How'd you sleep last night?"
I said, "I slept well. How'd you sleep." What she said back to me was disturbing. She said, "Your speech is slurred." It did sound slurred, but I thought nothing of it. I said, "I think I'm just tired and dehydrated." This sounded like, "I -hink I'm -ust -ired and de-yd-ated." That was that. We went on about the morning. We even went out to look at a house we were thinking about buying. Not our finest hour (or hours).
About noon, my speech hadn't cleared up, and I noticed that my handwriting was off. So we called our friend who is also my cardiologist, Dr. Marcus Williams, and he said, "Hangup and go to the emergency room at Valley Hospital. I'll let them know you are on the way." His tone intoned the urgency of our getting to the hospital post haste.
The front desk at valley was waiting on me when I arrived. They didn't check me. They didn't ask for an insurance card or put a little plastic band around my wrist. They plopped me in a wheelchair and doctor began to examine me. I had all the signs of having suffered a stroke. After an MRI, it was determined that I had had a mild stroke. Thankfully, it was a mild stroke. I had a bit of diminished speech and weakness on my right side. But by day two, my speech and my strength were coming back. The doctors say that I should have a full recovery.
The episode was scary and sobering. Now I feel blessed and grateful. I know many of you prayed for me. Thanks for your prayers. And, thanks to Marcus who sent me straight to the emergency room.
When you have a stroke, your chances of having a second stroke increase. Also, for me, the doctors weren't able to pinpoint why I had a stroke. If they could pinpoint the source, then they might be able to perform a procedure that would keep me from having another stroke.
So, I need to change my lifestyle. I need to eat better, exercise regularly, and learn to say "no" to some things. I have to keep check of my blood pressure. I have medication that I must take. And, I need to be consistent at all five of these things. Some of these items are easier than other items. The first three are the hardest, plus that consistency thing at the end. It's easy to be on top of things for a month or two, but it's difficult to make a real life change. Again, please pray for me.
Learning to say "No." That's a hard one for me. I know when I'm asked to do something, that I'm not the only person who can do the job. I'm not that special. But I'm a people-pleaser by nature. I have to learn to say "No" and be okay with saying "No."
I suggest that you learn to do the same thing. When we focus on too much, we get little done. When we focus on a little, we get more done. I'm learning to focus on a little, a few things, a few important things that will make a difference for me and for everyone whom I a around.
Saying "No" can mean "Yes." When you say "No" to trivial matters, you say "Yes" to important items. When you say "No" to items that can suck the fun out of you day, you say "Yes" to other things that are life-giving and affirming.
I'm learning to say "No." I invite you to do the same.
Unless I'm calling to ask you a favor. In that case, say "Yes."
Learn to say "No."
χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. (Philippians 1:2)
"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Lord Jesus the Messiah."
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