Patty Kay

Patty's Story:

Finally realizing a life-long dream I found myself pleasantly sitting in an anthropology class at my local university listening to a lecture.  I decided to take notes as the subject being discussed had not been covered in the written text.  Much to my dismay I found myself unable to write.  I could put my pen to the paper but the only result was squiggly lines going down the page in a vertical fashion.  I thought that was strange but I wasn't in pain or anything so I figured something was temporarily askew.   I finished the class just listening, knowing it was my last class for the day and I'd be able to go home and figure out what was going on.

I did make it home.  I rode a city bus a few miles then walked several blocks feeling extremely fatigued, so much so that all I could do was lay on my sofa once I had opened my door.  There I remained until my oldest son got home from high school several hours later.  By then my speech was affected but I was able to communicate to him that I thought I should be taken to the hospital.

Seeing as I'm financially challenged I had my son drive me to the local charity hospital where I was promptly ignored. Lingering several hours in the waiting room until I finally got so upset I had my son bring me to a different hospital.  I may be totally ignorant of all things medical, and I might not have been in pain, but I knew I needed to see somebody who could tell me what was going on.

The results of my visit to the second hospital were the same - I got no attention.  I didn't wait as long there as I had at the other place as my anxiety was such that just sitting in a waiting room seemed really fruitless.  My speech was affected, my writing was affected, and by the time I left the second place, my legs weren't working very well either.  Still, if medical people didn't see fit to check me out, I supposed that going home and trying to sleep it off was better than being in an uncomfortable chair at the hospital while I was being ignored.

The next day had my son missing school as he took me to the hospital again.  I really don't remember much about the year after finally getting admitted there.  I do recall thinking, "They're just watching me go through this.  There's no proactive treatment for whatever I've got!"

I recall a nurse telling me I'd had a stroke and the despair I felt over that news.  The little brain function I had going on was constantly questioning things like,"Why aren't they doing anything?"

I was able to walk into the emergency room with assistance. I was carried from my bed to a gurney when I was transferred to a different facility as I was paralyzed by then.  And all that had been done was a scan to verify the stroke, but nothing was done to help mitigate it.

It's been five years since then.  I can walk, albeit not well.  Stooping and running are no longer part of my repertoire.  On the up side, my brain is finally working again after I decided to suspend medications that kept me dizzy for a few years.  While the initial event caused no pain, I experienced an abundance of it after the fact. 

I have that weird thing that leaves you crying all the time, am totally unable to be spontaneous (I freeze when rushed) and some strange form of aphasia haunts me.  Sounds like whining!  I try to not talk about it, honest.

I tire too easily to work outside the home.  I  can't stand on my feet for more than a few minutes at a time.  Just getting up to stand on my feet is an effort that I try to avoid!  

Prior to the stroke and returning to school, I always worked 60 to 80 hours a week.  The hardest thing for me has been having so much time on my hands without having the finances or energy to do what I'd like to.  However I have developed quite an imagination!

At times I ideate my stroke as a living analogy for what our planet is experiencing.  Just as smoking was damaging a vital organ in my own body, humans are fracking, damaging the infrastructure of the very ground we walk and live on.  Similarly, the damage from the cigarettes extending beyond my lungs, affecting my heart and all sorts of other things, to me fracking not only injures its local environment, it further affects air and water needed for all of us to survive. 

The accumulated effects of my lifestyle amalgamated into a near-total shutdown of my body.  I can easily envision the bad actions of our species doing the same to Earth.  I am horrified by Cont'd at Right...


The accumulated effects of my lifestyle amalgamated into a near-total shutdown of my body.  I can easily envision the bad actions of our species doing the same to Earth.  I am horrified by the gigantic islands of plastic floating in gyres all across our oceans.  I compare these trash accumulations to tattoos.  (I don't personally have tattoos but to me the permanence of ink in the skin is a correlation to littering.)  Fossil fuels remind me of my eating own  habits, not sustainable or too healthy! 

Overwork is very much like overpopulation.  I could go on and on, but I trust you understand how I can take environmentalism personally!

I became a tree hugger in my teens.  An interest in conservation and such has stayed with me for decades. 

Another passion of mine has been religion.  I have devoted years of study there.  I am decidedly not a  bible thumper.  The more I learned left me with an absolute respect for all belief systems that help a person live and die more nobly, as long as love, not hate is the focus.  By the time I was able to return to a brick and mortar institution, my devotions had merged.  I see ecology as my religion.

My God has no gender.  My God has no claim to be leader of any organized faith.  My God would rather we take care of ourselves and makes no judgment on personal decisions that don't involve hurting others.  (I don't consider zygotes "others"!)  My God created the entire universe to reflect how awesome my God is.

Diversity is demanded.  Sexual preference demonstrates diversity in humans, nothing more.  Women wishing to finally be recognized as full, equal humans are simply heeding a divine call to be.  And certainly the same holds true for groups that have been more overtly held down.

After surviving my personal travails without bitterness, I struggle to find a voice to shine a light on the ills of the whole world without being angry or shrill. 

I often think of Jesus in the temple overturning the tables of the money changers.  In the book Interview With a Vampire,  Anne Rice wrote a line that said something like, "as if morality were a great glass ball that can be utterly shattered by a single act."  Jesus's solitary instance of anger (gateway to the deadly sin of wrath) was immediately followed by more healing and carrying-on of His ministry. 

The lesson, to me, is not to be so riled up at the wrongs in the world to where I'm unable to do all I can to alleviate what I can.  My mobility is not an issue when it comes to not littering, to recycling as much as possible, mulching and growing my own vegetables, using safer cleaning products and, in general, keeping my own house in order by reducing my personal carbon footprint.

I realize that the world at large is not ready to adopt sustainable practices.  Still, I pray for an awareness in humanity that would allow such a revolution.  I see what the world can be and hope for the realization of that dream.  Like a doctor, I, first, do no harm.  

My body's recovery has been slow but steady.  Perhaps more people will begin to move toward participation in a healthier Earth.  May each of us find a proactive something regardless of that something's size that can help all of humanity find earthly salvation.

My mission and passion is in spreading awareness and doing all I "physically" and "mentally" can do to leave this world a wonderful place for my children and grandchildren to live in. I hope many of you feel the same. 

Find out more about Patty Here or Connect with her on Facebook


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