Five years ago this October, I had a ruptured brain aneurysm. I was 52. My husband and I were at a Kenny Loggins concert in a small venue, and I was next in line to meet him. (I'm not a regular concert-goer and I was so excited to meet the guy who had provided the soundtrack of my life). In front of me was our friend, a gastrointerologist. As I watched them talking, I experienced the horrible headache that so many have mentioned. I became weak and my knees started to buckle. My husband caught me and steered me over to a seat. Someone brought me a Coca Cola. I was woosey but still communicating. Kenny Loggins watching from afar and I remember wondering what he was thinking: did he think I was some drunk fan?. My husband and I talked with our Doc friend and decided since we were with 2 miles of a hospital that we would go on in. He called ahead and they were waiting for me. (He later said he thought it was just a precaution: docs look for the normal, they don't rush to drastic conclusions). I opened the passenger door of the car at the ER and once again I crumbled and the hospital staff met me and ushered me in. The ER doc immediately did a CT scan and confirmed bleeding on the brain. My husband and I were trying to grasp what was going on - the fact that this was serious was sinking in. He was having a hard time processing the information. Like so many, we had no idea what we were dealing with. I told him where all the "important" papers were at my office, including my will. The hospital tried to set up a life flight to Atlanta, but the weather was bad and they were grounded, so they called in an ambulance. I had an experienced crew, another lucky break. They instructed my husband to follow in the car and they stayed in touch with him during the trip. I was still conscious and remember the sounds and lights as we rushed past in the dark. I also remember their calm, strong voices as they worked on me and monitored my condition. I was still conscious when we arrived at the large urban hospital and then I checked out.
Later I found that we had another stroke of luck: the doc who did my surgery was renowned in this area of medicine, he had been consulted by Grey's Anatomy and shadowed by an actor - if you watch the first season, the first emergency is a subarachnoid hemorrage. My surgery was what I would call a success since I'm still here. I had a ruptured aneurysm, one that had not yet ruptured, and one where the aneurysm had joined to another vessel. All were clipped. When I became woke up after the surgery, with all the bells, whistles and gadgets hooked up to me, I remember my husband's saying "you're ok, you're going to be ok". That was enough. So here I am, five years later and yes, I am ok - different - but ok. The recovery is a whole other story, but that is for another day. I'm just glad that after five years, I found a place, where there is someone like me; and that there is growing awareness, which will perhaps some day lead to prevention.