"Three Hours Outside Myself" - Another Mother's Story

January 19, 2018

There's nothing like an ambulance ride to the emergency room to help you put life back into perspective. On Dec. 28, 2017, I experienced a sudden onset of symptoms that presented much like either a Panic Attack or a Stroke.

After three hours of terrifying symptoms, including the loss of feeling in my limbs as well as a brief spell of aphasia (speech disruption), my condition improved. I regained full use of my limbs and the ability to speak. It was like someone flipped a switch and turned me back on.

The final diagnosis, arrived upon through the process of elimination, was Migraine with Aura.

I'm not writing this post about Migraines or Panic Attacks or Strokes. Instead, I'm writing about what that near brush with death taught me.

I don't claim to understand what it feels like to truly face death, to be diagnosed with a terminal illness or to miraculously survive a catastrophic accident. Nope, I was just really sick for a few short hours. But the things I thought about, the things that swirled around inside my head for those scary hours, really impacted me. Actually, no, it wasn't the things I thought about. It was the things I didn't think about that really caused me to take note.
  • I never thought about how much money I had made.
  • I never thought about much I weighed or the size of jeans.
  • I never thought about whether my purse or my shoes or my coat were this year's hottest trend.
  • I never thought about whether or not any gray sprouts were peeking out of my hairline.
  • I never thought about how many followers I had on social media.
  • And I never thought about who the president is.
  • Believe me.
No, for those few scary hours, I thought only about people, my people, the people in my life that matter most to me and how much I love them.

I thought about how my older son had been through so much and how proud I was of his journey. How much I wanted him to continue his recovery and eventually be out on his own.

I thought about my husband and, although we found each other late in life, how lucky we've been to have shared these years together.

And I thought about my younger son, and how proud I was of the young man he is becoming. 

Luckily, this frightening experience was brief and my symptoms subsided quickly. I had only about three hours to worry that my time was up. 

But it's taken me three weeks to get myself to write this. And it was watching the movie "Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri" that finally inspired me to open up at all. The mother in that movie was filled with such rage, such regret, such pain. And all she wanted was to feel some sense of resolution. She thought she knew exactly what would fix it.

If you've seen the film, you know if her efforts get her what she wanted. If you haven't seen the film, I won't spoil it for you. I'll just say watching that film inspired me to write about this. 

I'm grateful that I had those three hours, just long enough to remember the things that matter and the things that don't. Sometimes you need a few hours outside yourself to bring life back into perspective.

Happy 2018.



  1. So true about the value of perspective. Thank you for the reminder. I never heard of "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" ... I'm looking forward to seeing it when it's available to stream at home.

    Glad you're feeling better :)

    1. Thanks. I think you'll like the movie but fair warning: it's dark. <3