My 1 in 50 Story by Beth Deuer
“I got her in the wheelchair,” are the last words I remember hearing early on Wednesday, August 19, 2015, before an approximately forty-eight hour black hole in my memory. What I remember next is waking up in a hospital bed and looking for my cell phone. Not finding it, I called the nurse using the call button dangling at my side. When she arrived, I asked her for a phone to call my husband. I dialed his number, and he answered, overjoyed to hear my voice. He was on his way with our daughter. Looking back, I am surprised how calm I was considering my surroundings.
I was in the neurosurgical intensive care unit at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was Friday morning. The previous Tuesday, August 18, at 6:18 pm (as my husband informed me later), my hearing tunneled quickly, my limbs went numb momentarily, and I broke out in a profuse sweat while talking with my husband in our room. I laid on the bed; by the time he went through the doorway to the adjoining bathroom to get me a wet, cool washcloth, I slid to floor and began vomiting profusely. The sunlight streaming in the windows shot daggers in my eyes. At first, because I could communicate with him without issue and I had not suffered one before, we thought I had a migraine. Surely this light sensitivity would pass when the sun set. Night fell, not alleviating the light sensitivity or the periodic vomiting. I remember not wanting to move from the floor, weakness overtaking me. I do remember telling my husband that I could not take the vomiting anymore. I could not walk, so I crawled down the stairs, out the front door, and into my car.
When I “awoke” at the hospital that Friday morning, I had an IV in both arms, a catheter, and a thin red tube running from the top of my head. But some of my hair wasn’t there; an area the size of my hand had been shaved where the red tube was inserted in my skull. Bruises the size of dimes dotted my stomach. A large bruise the size of a lime colored my right, upper thigh. Flowers and balloons rested on the counter across the room. Sunlight streamed in a small window to my left.
Through the next few hours, highlighted by visits from family, doctors, and nurses, I learned that I had suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm caused by an undetected aneurysm. I exercised, ate healthy, laughed every day, and did not smoke or drink. I was two months from my forty-first birthday. I did not know what a brain aneurysm was. Being 1 in 50, I know now how blessed I am to have survived.
The past almost-seventeen months has been life-changing. I have retrained my brain to handle tasks I accomplished before my aneurysm. But I have also lived an amazing seventeen months by abandoning hesitation and leaving apprehension at the door. In 2016 my family and I traveled to the following states: Indiana, Michigan, Colorado, South Carolina, Nevada, Florida, New York, and Kentucky. I cheered Clemson basketball with my sister Jen, slid down a ski slope on a tube with my sister Carrie, hiked through Manhattan with my daughter on a class trip, felt warm sand between my toes in Destin with extended family, relished the best lobster tail dessert I have ever tasted at Buddy V’s with my husband in Las Vegas, and lived a million other experiences. I have tried new foods. I began running again, not far and not fast, but I did. I won the Mug Slide at a local Oktoberfest. I walked in charity walks to help others. I attended hockey games and baseball games, concerts and giveaways at grand openings. I know I may not ever be exactly the same as I was before my aneurysm, but I fail to see how that is negative. I don’t ever want to stop trying new experiences, traveling to new places, meeting new people, appreciating the wind on my palms and the butterflies in my yard. I have been told that I am a miracle, but to me, I am just Beth, the same optimistic, laughing, jovial woman I have always been, except my hair in one section is a little shorter until it grows back fully. And I have a slight dimple in my head on the right side just above my hairline.