Jun 252014

Dear Readers,

Welcome back for the last part of my story. If you were unable to read the previous parts here are the links: part 1, part 2 and part 3.

My last post ended with me being on an ambulance heading back to my hometown. Unfortunately for me I wasn’t sent to my home, like I had hoped, but, instead I was taken to the hospital to continue the treatment and to run more tests. It was a huge disappointment being back in the hospital, but then I thought that it would be easier because I would have the support of all of my family. Sadly, it didn’t become easier at all, I felt only disgust. I could not believe the difference between the person I was two months before the accident and the person I had become in the hospital.

That day, 10th of December, I was taken for another MRI scan; it only lasted about 10 minutes, the shortest one of all of them. My mother told me that she heard one of the nurses say:”E varza!” , which means that my brain was pretty much fucked up (excuse my language). I was back in the care of the neurologist that attended to my case in the beginning of my hospitalization.

All I remember about that day were the noises… there was so much noise, I could hear loud voices, doors closing. It is unbelievable how much noise can be in a state hospital. You see in the movies that if you so much as whisper someone will come and reprimand you. Our state hospital are not like in the movies. I thought that when you are in the hospital you are supposed to get better. It didn’t feel that way to me. I couldn’t believe how inconsiderate some people were. Although smoking is strictly forbidden in the hospital some people just couldn’t wait and absolutely had to smoke. They did that mostly in the bathrooms, but the room I was in was near the bathrooms so I could smell the smoke.

My family was taking turns to keep watch over me: my father was with me in the morning, then my sister would keep me company in the afternoon, and late in the afternoon my aunt would join her; my mother stayed with me during the night, but sometimes she would change shifts with my sister. I was happy to be able to talk to other members of my family and to be able to hear their voices. I could still hear with my left ear for a bit. But even this little bit would soon be gone. My ability to understand noise was fading away, but, even then, I didn’t realize that my brain was at fault, and I blamed everything on the noise I was hearing in the hospital. There were no ear check-ups, which left me very confused; I was losing my ability to hear and I felt that they weren’t doing enough. Of course, I didn’t know that it was a neurological problem, that my ears were absolutely fine, and that it was the auditory nerve that was malfunctioning. I don’t know how, but through some miracle, I was able to hear and understand my own voice. This helped me a lot, it kept me from going insane.

The situation didn’t seem to change for the better. In fact, I felt as if I was slowly becoming a vegetable. I was pinned to the bed 24 hours a day. The IV with the heparin treatment was in my left arm, and my right arm was used for taking blood samples and other IV’s. I was so weak I could barely stand. However, whenever I wasn’t on an IV I tried to motivate myself a little. So I tried to do some exercise. I could only walk for two meters (about 7ft) to the nearest window, and I would breath in some fresh air. That was “my daily walk”… I wasn’t able to do anything more. I am very embarrassed to say, but I couldn’t even pee normally anymore. I was 26 years old and I had to pee in a special potty. I felt so disgusted with everything, especially with myself.

Bruises Left by IVs and Needles catalinastan.com

Bruises Left by IVs and Needles

A very important issue which I should not forget to mention: even at that point in time my family, especially my mother, believed that I had a tooth infection. Why did they still believe that? Because nobody tried to explain anything to them. My mother insisted that I were given antibiotics and they did, eventually, which made my family even more suspicious. I was under the right treatment for my condition, I was given antibiotics, I was given standard IVs with vitamins, but I wasn’t showing any improvement…my blood was still tick, and it would still clot in the needle. The neurologist and the hematologist suggested that I might have trombophilia, a rare blood disease with an abnormal blood coagulation rate. The doctors told my family that it is a very expensive test and no matter what the result would be the treatment was the same.

The last three days in the hospital were the worst. I had lost my hearing completely, so I couldn’t communicate with people anymore. I think I reached a catatonic state. or at least, it felt that way. I didn’t feel in control of my body, my mind was adrift in the darkness. I could not believe the degradation I was in. The blood tests kept on going and once every 6 hours, somebody would suddenly sting a needle in my arm and would try to take some blood, but couldn’t, and then tried some more; my arms were full of bruises, there was simply no place left to sting the needle. The doctor feared that my brain would shut my kidneys too, so they put a special device inside, a probe. It was so painful and so humiliating. What’s worse, I had been constipated for a week and my tummy was swelling; even though it was risky, the doctor approved doing an enema. That was the last straw. I begged my parents to take me home because I couldn’t take it anymore.

On the morning of the 18th of December, 2013, a nurse came and took out all of my IVs. I was confused, what happened? My sister was trying to tell me something, but I couldn’t understand. After a while, I felt something pressing on my forehead: it was a man’s hand. I recognized my father’s fingers. It took me a while, but the fingers were trying to convey me something. My father was writing on my forehead that I WAS GOING HOME. I felt like it was taking forever. My sister dressed me up, but the probe was not removed. We had to wait for an ambulance to take me home. Everything felt unreal, I thought that my father was lying to me:”Why was the probe not removed?’ Why do I have to go in an ambulance again? They are sending me back to a hospital in Bucharest! I don’t want that! I want home!” These were the thoughts that were running through my head at that moment. I was going to believe that I was really home if our little Yorkie (Pufi is his name) would jump in my arms and lick me.

Victory Sign catalinastan.com

Happy to Be Going Home

Finally, the ambulance arrived, after a short while the ambulance stopped, father and the paramedic helped me get off of the ambulance. My father took me in his arms, and I felt him climbing some stairs and then he entered in the elevator…it was only one floor and, then, it starting feeling familiar. I was put on the bed and a furry like creature jumped onto my lap and started licking my hands. When I put my hand on that little thing and started petting him I knew I was finally home. Shortly after, my mother and aunt hugged me and kissed me and I started crying.

My family saved my life when they took me out of the hospital and the day I set foot in the apartment was the day I began to heal.

As I said before, most of the time I was unaware of what was happening, so here are some things my family told me much, much later, when I was feeling better. They told me I had a stroke only until the late of February, when I began to communicate with people again. I thought that the doctors released me from the hospital, but, in fact, my parents signed some papers and took me home against the doctors advice. My mother and sister went to see a dentist and showed him the scan. He assured them that there was no infection, so this was ruled out as a possible cause of my condition.

Right after I left the hospital, I asked my mother if I was in serious danger. At fist, she told me that she didn’t know, but later on she admitted that my life was at risk, because they couldn’t find the cause of my hypercoagulation and the treatment wasn’t working.

My mother told me , well she wrote on my forehead (that is how my family communicated with me…by writing letters on my forehead). She told me a story about a girl, who also came back from Ireland, she also lost her sight and the doctors also insisted that she had an infection. She was scared and begged her parents to take her home, but they were too afraid so , in the end, the girl died in the hospital. She, too, was only 26 years old. Hearing this story and finding out about my stroke, I connected the dots and I realized that my parents brought me home so I wouldn’t have to die on a hospital bed. It broke my heart knowing that I came so close to dying and I wasn’t even aware of it. Honestly, I never believed that I would die. Once I began to understand people better I asked my mother again to tell me he whole story without hiding anything. I could hear a shaky voice telling me that the doctor told them that I was going to die. My mother refused to believe her:”There is no way my baby girl is going to die!”, she shouted. So, they took me home hoping that I could at least have a peaceful death. They let it all in God’s will.

I do understand that the doctors tried to do everything in they power to help me, but they were simply overwhelmed by my case. They didn’t listen to my story at all. If I were 50yr and had the same symptoms, they would most certainly have believed that I had a stroke. But I was 26 and came back from a foreign country. They did tests even for HIV (I know it’s standard procedure, but it made me feel very dirty, like I had done something wrong). They even suspected I might be pregnant because I had a glass of water and found it very sweet and I immediately started to throw up.

I know I am at fault because I should have asked for help sooner. But I can’t believe that none of the doctors that treated me were unable to help me. Right now, I am very distrustful of doctors and resentful, as well.
When I left the hospital for good I threw up. At home, my mother tried to feed me some rice, but I threw up again. However, that was the last time and even to this day, I haven’t thrown up once.

My treatment consisted of an anticoagulant (Sintrom), one pill a day at lunch, and vitamins. That was all. This simple treatment slowly put me back on my feet. But I will talk more about the healing process in another post.
This is the story of how I had a stroke at 26.

There are still probably a lot of other details I forgot about or I don’t know about.

I decided to tell you my story because I want it to be an example for all of you. It is unbelievably easy to lose something precious, and so incredibly hard to get them back. I hope that my story will help you reevaluate your priorities and realize that it is very important to take care of your health and to enjoy every second of your life.

Be well!

  15 Responses to “I Had A Stroke At 26 – part 4”

  1. Hi Catalina!I have been enjoying your Crochet videos so much,you have taught me so much.I thank you for that!

  2. Catalina…I watched your YouTube video this morning. I am believing God is healing you. I believe you will see again:) You’ve taught me many lessons, how to crochet, how to be strong, how to cherish each day. You are an inspiration to us all and I am so thankful to know you. I will keep on praying for your healing! Stay strong…this too shall pass!


  3. Catalina, I looked through youtube to find the perfect pattern for an afghan to crochet for my daughter. I found your lovely granny square with central sunflower pattern and decided it was ‘the one.’ I copied the directions as you explained them and then in the comment section learned that you have suffered a stroke. I am so very sorry this has happened to you, I read your newest update on your condition and am so very pleased you are home with your family and improving. I pray with all my heart that someday you will recover sufficiently to continue to do the crochet that you are so talented at and also brings you joy.

    You are a strong and courageous young lady, please don’t ever give up. As you say it is in God’s hands but with the help of your loving family and the support of your many crochet fans, I believe you can recover your health.

    You are so very talented and I thank you for that video that will help me make my own daughter happy when I finish this afghan. I will keep you in my prayers.

  4. You can do it Catalina. I pray for your speedy recovery. Thank you for being an inspiration. God bless!


  5. Hi Catalina I am thanking you for the really wonderful tutorials and also how glad I am you are making a steady recovery , god bless your family and the strength of love they showed and took you home and got you well again
    Be well and take care

  6. WOW, Catalina, you are incredible, what a crazy-ass journey, wow. I am stunned… inspired… grateful… and in awe of you. I am rooting for you. I only email so I will check this site to follow along. You are a gift. Not to mention the gifts you share. I just started self-teaching myself to learn to crochet (for a road trip later in the month to Assateague, and boy will I be thinking of you, and I will be seeing the Ocean and horses for us both). You’ve inspired me to appreciate this NOW in life, to take pictures, be present, and maybe even start painting again. Of the several videos I tried watching, you are the best at it! You explain what is coming, terms, and how to, so THANKS because you are passing on a skill to us all, that we all, in turn can turn into gifts for loved ones and the self enjoyment to come from learning this new skill, words cannot express my gratitude. And yes, what a soothing demeanor you have, so very real, the journey we take on your voice and words is heartfelt. My Auntie just went through a mini-stroke recently and its effect to her at 68 are damaging, and its just horrible to sit by and witness it, and I thank you for the shared perspective which I was unable to access. And I am so very sorry that you feel so alone and in darkness, yeah, that’s really gotta suck, and some days you can feel crappy, you’re entitled to complain! and yet you make the choice more often to be positive, great inspiration to us all, God loves faith! Thank God for your family, kudos to them all and your loving sister, let’s face it, this is a brutal and difficult situation for all of you, and I will pray for you all. And here I am pissed off over a bummer of a weekend! Yikes I dislike seeing my own selfishness and hold onto anger FAR too long! Online and to me right now, you are living through your tutorials, thank you, keep me posted on your progress. I’m not too online savvy, and I don’t use social media, but I will check back. Continue on Catalina, because the other options are too bleak, and you my love, are not bleak.

    • Seven moths ago I was writing on Catalina’s forehead the comments that people posted on her blog or you tube channel. I was able to read your comment to her and she was able to understand everything. She wanted me to tell you that your words have put a smile on her face right when she needed it the most. She is incredibly overjoyed at the thought that her work has touched your heart. This was her dream: to create something that would live a strong impression in people’s hearts. She is also happy to hear that her story has inspired you to enjoy life even more. We hope that you make as many happy memories as you can, so, when the end of the road comes or you come across some harsh times, you will look back and have no regrets. Thank you very much for the wonderful words that you have sent us.

  7. I just came across your blog. I have teaching myself to crochet. I see there hasn’t been a posting since Aug. I hope you are getting better and I will be praying for you.

  8. Catalina. I have been unwell. Lost of smell, pain & tremors. I decided to start crocheting 2 days ago. I found your tutorials & am now shocked to find out you are so unwell. My symptoms so similar. Electricity in brain, loss of touch & smell. If you and your sister would like one day to visit Sydney, my home is yours. I am crocheting sunflower granny squares for you. I am crying for you. Don’t give up. I’d love to write to you. I am hopeless on computer. Jillxxx Sydney Australia.

    • Catalina really appreciates you sharing some of your problems with her and that you can understand some of the things she is experiencing in her brain, and that she is not alone. She knows how difficult it could be to tell strangers about your pain. She hopes that you recover too, and that crocheting may help you. She was really happy to hear that she is welcomed in your home, we might actually take you up on your offer, once she feels strong enough to travel by plane. Take care.

  9. Imi pare atat de rau sa aud ca ai trecut prin atata durere. It admir curajul si in aceiasi timp iti multumesc din suflet ca ai impartasit povestea ta cu noi.Ai un suflet mare si bogat,inflorit ca primavara.Sa fie cel mai bine. Cu drag. citesc cu placere articolele tale.La cat mai multe motive de bucurie si de a rade.

    • Catalina iti multumeste pentru mesaj si pentru interesul acordat povestii ei. Simte ca se vindeca, se simte bine, puternica si dornica de a face lucruri, de a spune povesti, prin urmare nu mai este loc pentru parerile de loc. Se bucura ca ii citesti blogul si se bucura si mai mult ca iti place ce citesti.

  10. Catalina I had watched your tutorials some time back & one of the comments mentioned you having a stroke. It is truly a miracle you are regaining your strength & speech. I pray that you have speedy recovery.

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