How No Longer Quivering Saved my Life

How No Longer Quivering Saved my Life September 13, 2018

So that might be an exaggeration, but not by much. Women in Quiverfull are taught and practice that going to the doctor or hospital is evil idolatry. If you are sick just throw some Black Salve on it, pray harder, rebuke and declare it in the name of the Lord. Or the even worse  –  after rebuking the devil for making you have these symptoms declare the the symptoms lies from the pit of hell and declare the victory by stating forcefully agan and again ‘By his stripes I am healed.’ I know so many women dead now because of those types of theologies. I am not. I am still alive.

On Sunday nighr or early on Monday morning I had a stroke. A mini stroke is the term I believe. For the past few weeks my vision started going very wonky in my right eye. It would get blurry, I would stop working on the computer. and rest my eyes for an hour or so. My vision would return and I’d go happily on my way. But on Sunday nothing I did made the blurry white spots leave so I went to bed early and the next morning my vision was much worse, there was no way I could have ever updated NLQ.

I posted on Facebook that I was having to take a computer sabbatical because of eye strain, and one of my oldest friends posted telling me to get to the emergency room immediately. Instead I called my Stateside eye doctor to ask if he could squeeze me for an apointment during my upcoming Stateside visit. He said, “ER NOW! You’ve had a stroke very likely and if you do nothing you’ll at the least lose your sight.”

When he first said this I laughed and said “Stroke? What stroke? I feel fine!” because except for the vision I felt great. I had a small sinus headache and runny nose but I felt good. To humor him and be on the safe side I went to my local doctor here in Costa Rica, explained what was going on, said I felt fine except for the vision. He took my blood pressure, which is usually around 110/70 and it was 220/125.  The next thing I knew I was being strapped into the Life Flight helicopter and taken 5 hours away to a hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica while I’m still protesting I feel fine, is this not overreaction?

Taking off in the helicopter from the Tamarindo airport. My house is just to the left of the big hill ahead.

Yesterday they released me after a pile of tests. They determined that I’d had a small stroke, but that the lesion it caused in my brain had shrunken to much smaller within those initial three days. I got put on a salt free diet and a medication to help prevent futher strokes, one for my blood pressure. I also got a very clean bill of health, my heart is in great shape, my arteries are clearer than most folks and my blood pressure came right back down in a hurry. I am expected to regain full vision in the next month.

I had a lot of time to lay in that uncomfortable hospital bed and think. One of the big things that kept running through my mind is that I was still spouting the line from Quiverfull, the denial that anything was wrong, I was fine, don’t worry about me. It’s a line of thinking in many conservative Christian groups that as a woman we never put ourselves first, it’s always ‘I’m fine!’ and soldier on no matter what. It’s part of that never have needs, never draw attention to youself, there’s always someone else that needs help more than you do thinking that I didn’t even realize I still have.

Clearly I was not fine, and had I ignored my friend’s warning on Facebook and the words of my eye doctor and soldiered on this could have ended much differently. This would likely have not killed me outright, but my vision would not have returned and likely there would have been more strokes, and eventually it would have robbed me of my life.

With my lung problems, bleeding disorder and other health issues I ended up right where I needed to be, and am expected to make a full recover. With some changes of course. No salt and monitoring my blood pressure being two of the biggest.

In fundytown the Lori Alexanders and Debi Pearls of this world would be smugly announcing that the Lord was punishing me in some way for eating the wrong things, or not being submissive enough, or any dumb thing they could think up instead of what it is. Being 58 years old with family history of strokes. No, I didn’t ride the goat backwards, I didn’t fail to say the ‘right’ prayers. It was the genetic luck of the draw.

Ladies, never ignore what your body is trying to tell you. Don’t fall for quack medicine, go to a real licensed medical professional. That’s all. It’s that simple. You cannot fast or diet a stroke away. You cannot Black Salve it, or drink urine to kill it. Essential oils will do nothing. Nor will sticking your head in the sand and pretending nothing is going on.

I need to thank some folks that helped me this week and say that posting will resume at NLQ tomorrow as I’m cleared to resume my life slowly now.

Big thanks to the entire staff at Beachside Clinic in Huacas for everything they did, from working with my insurance company to quickly getting me helicoptered to the hospital after stabilizing my blood pressure.

Special thanks to Dr. Hernandez who helped me get home in an ambulance so I could feed my cat and pack a bag. He didn’t have to escort me home to pack, but he did, going well beyond his responsibilities as a doctor.

Thanks to the staff of the air ambulance for making a very stressful time a little easier, and for showing me how beautiful the country is from the air.

Big thanks for the ambulance crew when I landed in San Jose for rushing through the teeming protest crowds of the national strike to the hospital.

Thank you to the ladies of the church, for picking my car up from the clinic, coordinating with our pastor to fly Jim out from his church trip in Osa spearfishing to be with me in the hospital and everything else you’ve done to handle things while I was out of commission.

Thank you Stacy for coming down to the airport and gesturing your love to me while they loaded me onto the helicopter. It helped me feel less alone in a situation where I was completely alone while Jim was on his trip.

Thank you to the staff at Hospital Metropolitano for taking such good care of me this week.

And a special thanks to my neurologist whose name escapes me at this moment. I know this was a hard case for you because of my bleeding issues. Thanks for working with my weird long list of medical issues.

There are probably more people I need to thank but this is it for now.

Everyone please, please, please take care of yourself as best you can. I love you all.

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NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

I Fired God by Jcoelyn Zichtermann

13:24 A Dark Thriller by M Dolon Hickmon

About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping ithe plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. You can read more about the author here.

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  • Finding Home

    I’m glad you’re OK!

  • MarkInCA

    OMG this was me in July!!!! I had a hemorrhagic stroke. I thought it was just sinus problems, but it was only on one side. Turns out I have a cavernous malformation which I’ve affectionately called “Buster.” Been taking BP meds and Gapapentin. Trying to get off the latter. Doctor said only Yoga. Glad you’re OK!

  • Martin Penwald

    Wow, fortunately you’ll recover. Take care.

  • Nightshade

    It’s great to know that you’re going to be OK, and that it wasn’t any worse! I’ve been following the updates on your FB page, and hoping for the best. And you’re right about what I’m starting to think of as ‘I’m fine syndrome.’ It’s dangerous, and can become deadly if we ignore what our bodies are trying to tell us.

  • Ann Nienow Bowen

    I am very glad that you didn’t dally and got the care you needed.

  • Rachel

    I’m so glad to hear that you are recovering well. Good on you for listening to your friend and your doctors and getting yourself to the ER despite feeling more or less “fine.” My mom is a nurse and she tells me she has seen so many cases where women experiencing heart attacks and die because the reaction is to just excuse themselves to the bathroom because they feel more or less “fine” and “don’t want to make a scene.” It’s insidious how we as women are taught to ignore symptoms because we aren’t supposed to make a fuss over ourselves. Perhaps by sharing stories like yours you can inspire other women to take such symptoms seriously and not brush them off.

  • SAO

    I’ve noticed some of the most committed and dogmatic CPMers are young women who have rarely faced real health issues. As you get older, more people you know have random bad events (pregnancy with complications, accident reducing function, et ) and more people start to have consequences from genetic or longstanding issues. So, when you’re 25, you pray and sure enough, it turns out to be a big nothing and you wonder why you’re paying a fortune for insurance. When you’re 25, smoking, obesity or family tendencies to a health problem, probably won’t cause much of an issue. So, their beliefs are confirmed by their experience.

    When you are 55, it’s a whole other story.

    I wish you a speedy recovery, Suzanne.

  • lady_black

    Good catch on your doctor’s part and good on you for listening. Hope you’re feeling better real soon. And keep taking care of yourself.

  • persephone

    I knew something had happened and I was so worried. YAY! for your excellent doctors and friends and everyone in your life who stepped in and made you take care of yourself.

    And YAY! that you’re back and feeling better.

    ETA: NLQ definitely helped me mentally deal with my abusive ex and gave me the self-worth to know I deserved better, and to stiffen my spine. Thank you for everything Suzanne.

  • katiehippie

    I’ve just been diagnosed with a rare auto immune disorder. I’m in a lot of pain from a rash but I persisted in seeing doctors and now am getting treated. If I had ignored it I’d be incapacitated now. My mom has that way of not going to doctors or believing them so I worry about her.

  • Specky

    It’s good to hear you are recovering from this, and I hope things go smoothly.
    “Really, I’m fine” reminds me of:

  • Emersonian

    Wow. So glad you’re on the road to recovering!

  • Mollywog

    *hugs* SO glad you’re ok!! And in reply to what “they” would say, well, the Lord helps those who help themselves which is exactly what you did!!

  • Benjamin Muller

    No, I didn’t ride the goat backwards

    Damn, that was my first guess.

    I really enjoy your blog, I’m glad you’re okay. I hope your recovery goes as well as expected.

  • Jennny

    With all good wishes for your speedy recovery. I was discussing the topic with a doctor relative who said her colleague, who originates from India, says women do have a propensity to hide illness, especially in ethnic minority groups where they are such 2nd class citizens – you could add being QF to that minset too very easily. Their families may not allow them to seek help in case the doctor is male and they themselves are mortified even to think that might happen. They even feel guilty at spending too much on over-the-counter remedies for small ailments. From birth they, and a lot of the rest of us, are indeed programmed not to make a fuss, but to ‘grin and bear it’.

  • Missicat

    Glad to hear you are OK and listened to your friend! What is a “black salve”? Would google it but am afraid…

  • MaraT

    So glad you are on the mend. Take care and rest up, Suzanne! Thanks for the update!

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Black Salve is a treatment that Lori Alexander and others push that’s made from toxic ingredients. It is supposed to be banned in the US but they are getting it somehow. It will eat a hole in any bodypart you put it on. There are people putting it on tumors and cancers instead of seeking legitimate treatment.

  • Missicat

    That is..beyond horrifying.

  • zizania

    I was pretty much told to “suck it up” for several years by several doctors before my undiagnosed Crohn’s Disease almost killed me. I’ve got one of those screwy immune systems too.

  • katiehippie

    2 years ago my son had vasculitis of the central nervous systerm. Really rare and fatal if not treated. The children’s hospital did an amazing job of taking care of him. The only worry is a relapse. Possible but not too likely.

  • gimpi1

    Best of luck on your recovery. I’m glad you learned not to disregard the signals your body sends. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. No one can take care of others if they neglect themselves.

  • Poster Girl

    So glad you’re on the mend! Love and best wishes to you!

  • Zeldacat

    Oh my, that sounds scary as all get-out! Glad you’re doing better. Let’s hear it for modern medicine!

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    and Insurance, that pesky health insurance one of the political parties wants to make difficult to get.

  • Zeldacat

    Sadly all too true. I vote but live in a very red state – they won’t stop me though!

  • Quinsha

    I’m glad that this was caught in time. I had not read this until now, because I have been grieving for my best friend who died last Thursday. I would not have liked to also be grieving for you.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    Thanks hon. I hope to be here for a few more years.