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?
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.
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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