I don’t believe in coincidence. My stroke began happening on September 24, 2012, the exact day David Wells took his own life twenty-eight years before. This was also Yom Kippur (for those who don’t know Hebrew, it means “Day of Atonement”. My Father was about to come for me, because I wouldn’t go to Him. All of my bitterness about still being gay, all of my anger towards Christians, all of my supposed knowledge about God was about to be brought to nothing.
I know exactly where it started. It started in a public venue. My daughter was looking into the possibility of joining the military after high school. The venue was the United Spirit Arena here in Lubbock and military recruiters from all branches were out, seeking new members. As I had been in the Navy, I fully approved.
About halfway through the tour and getting information, I suddenly felt only what can be described as an electrical surge in the back of my head. I momentarily lost my vision and saw stars. I paused as I tried to recover from what had happened. My daughter asked what was wrong. I told her nothing as my vision had already returned, even though I still could feel the electrical surges going through the back of my head. I should have gone to the hospital emergency room right then, but instead I went home and made dinner.
I largely dismissed the surges going through my head and took some Excederine. After dinner, we watched TV, played some video games and went to bed. Normally my wife would have been at work (she normally works night) but just happened to be off (again, I DO NOT BELIVE IN COINCIDENCE). About four o’clock in the morning I woke, needing to use the restroom.
I could feel something wrong with my face (the paralysis was already setting in). I stumbled my way to the bathroom (I had already lost my balance) which I attributed to being just sleepy. After I took care of business I heard my wife talking to my daughter so I went to see why my daughter was up. She had school in a few hours.
I said something. My wife looked at me and asked if I was drunk (never had been before). It was then that I collapsed. She rushed me to the car with my daughter’s help (again, no coincidence) and drove me to the hospital at 90 miles an hour. I don’t remember much of what happened next. I do know I vomited in the car and fell flat on my face requiring stitches (I looked like Frankenstein’s monster). After these things I passed out.
My blood pressure was 237/87. By all rights I should be dead, but I wasn’t. The doctors couldn’t figure out why. When I woke (I think it was the next day, as it is all still fuzzy for me) I was paralyzed on my right side. I knew my name, my social security number, and that I had a wife and kids, and that was about it. You could have told me that I was the President of the United States and I wouldn’t have doubted. My memories were gone. All of them. The death of David Wells; the fact that I am gay; my horrible lifestyle that I had lived; the fact that I nearly became a prostitute; all the stupid facts I knew; the fact that I cheated on my wife with my ex-boyfriend; it was all gone.
The doctors didn’t exactly know what to do with me. Most of the paralysis had gone, although the right side of my face is still frozen and the right side of me still has some weakness. I still don’t remember much about that time as I spent much of it sleeping. God was with me. There were no Virgin Marys floating above my bed; no tunnels of light; no visions of hell; no voices from Gabriel telling me I had to repent of my sins; there was none of that nonsense. It was just me and God, and He let me sleep…