Wednesday, April 12th started off as an ordinary day. The alarm sounded off at 6:00 a.m. like it always did. Reggie did his work day morning ritual, showering, grooming, selecting a suit and accessorizing with the perfect accents for his outfit. We chatted about what we thought the day had in store for us, what I had planned and gentle reminder that he was playing ball later. After a departing kiss, Reggie was gone for a regular day at the office.
Fast forward to that evening, I heard the door open and Reggie greeted me and sprinted upstairs to change into his basketball clothes and off to the gym he went. I knew the basketball routine, that you had to get there on time so you could be picked to play, so there was always this urgency, much like when I am going to yoga class. I had some editing to take care of, so I began to work on some images, when a little after 9, the landline rings, my first instinct was not to answer this unrecognizable number, thinking it was a telemarketer.
I answer. “Reggie’s wife?” A strange voice came from the receiver. I held the phone closer, as if all of a sudden I had a hearing problem.
“Yes,” I said, feeling my heart rate increasing, knowing something is wrong.
“Something happened to Doc.” “They are working on him.” The frantic voice said.
I am sure the person said more than that, but my brain started shutting down and I cannot even recall who called me. All I could think about was working on him is my husband even alive.
“They are taking him to St. Jude Emergency Room.” The voice said.
My mouth was dry, I started trembling as I hung up the phone. I quickly put on some clothes, looked up where this hospital was, and drove to the emergency room not knowing what I would be greeted with.
“He’s in bed 19.” The ER receptionist said, as he buzzed open the door for me to go back. There were so many people being treated, like a war zone. I was so scared of what I was going to see. At that moment I thought that I should have called someone to come with me, I was all alone and at this moment no one knew this was happening.
The scene was chaotic. I walked into this cold arena with alarms ringing, lights blinking, loud voices, people hurrying about, moaning voices and then bed 19, my handsome husband was still in his basketball clothes vomiting profusely. He was surrounded by a team of medical people asking him all sorts of questions, his eyes were glazed, and he had a shiny glow about him, he saw and recognized me. He was alive.
“I loooooooooooove choooooo.” he said to me in the unmistakable slurred stroke voice, that we have all seen in the public service commercials. I knew something horrible had happened to him, in the 30 years I have know him he has never been sick. He has hypertension, but he always takes his medicine.
Quickly he was whisked away for a cat scan, as the emergency room Dr.Katz began to explain that Reggie had a hemorrhagic stroke and the neurosurgeon, Dr. Noblett was on the way. He then went on to tell me that they would be doing a craniotomy, at this point I am feeling faint as I sign my name on the consent form. Within moments I’m following my husband on a gurney to the operating room. I was numb.
This is the most difficult thing I have ever experienced. A life we loved was suddenly snatched away, initially leaving me in a state of panic. After there were no more tears to shed, I came to the realization that I had to keep on living and become active in Reggie’s recovery and my families survival.
I have to remain hopeful that Reggie will fight and win. That this athlete will be running the longest marathon ever, that we will have to be patience and know this is going to be a long journey. I know that my husband, being the most intelligent man I know, the most generous, the fittest, and with his family support, if anyone can beat this – he can.