Surviving a stroke at the age of 15, Courtney had to to learn how to walk and how to live again. 5 years later, she talks about how “Little Miss” has kept her strong and full of hope.
Little Miss goes straight to my heart. It has a lot of resonance with me. I most certainly have a predilection for Sugarland’s music, in fact I cannot get enough of them or Jennifer’s voice, for that matter. There is a particular time in my life (five years ago to be exact), that Little Miss takes me back to. I was fifteen years old, and just starting out my first year in high school. I had played little league softball for seven years, so of course I wanted to continue playing into high school. Little did I know, that one day of softball conditioning would change my life forever.
It was February 21, 2006 just a normal relaxing day I was in my cozy little room lying on the floor studying for a couple of test. I was dressed in my running shoes, softball shorts, and t-shirt ready to go to an exhaustive but fun softball conditioning. Moments before, the house was filled with the aroma of the spaghetti my mom had prepared for supper. I felt great, I had a good day at school, and could not wait to have a good night of practice.
I arrived at my high school. On this particular night the team met in the old downstairs gym. All of the girls trying out for the team circled around the center of the gym and began stretching, making sure to get every muscle just right. When the stretching was done, the coaches had the team run laps around the rectangular gym to warm up. I normally despised running, but on this day I was feeling pretty good so I took off at first a slow rate to pace myself, and get momentum going.
As I went for the third lap running a little faster at the time, I began to get a headache. The more I ran the worse my headache was getting, until it finally got to the point where it felt like someone was taking a hammer to my temple. I was beginning to feel really weird, and Coach Stoner was beginning to notice my strange behavior and asked me what was wrong. All I said was “What do you mean?” I am not one to let you know when I do not feel good so I continued on running. I went around for another lap keeping my eye on the portly Coach Zollman. As I got closer to him he somehow completely went out of my view, things were getting pretty hazy, and all I could hear was the sound of the girls shoes hitting the floor as they ran, and they were also chatting to one another. All of a sudden my my equilibrium took a crash course sending me right into coach Zollman, with such force it knocked me back a little. Coach Stoner immediately knew something was most certainly wrong with me. He sat down on the squishy floor of the gym and I fell right down with him and closed my eyes. As the girls were running by wondering what was happening, Coach Stoner was asking me to keep my eyes open.
One of the girls panicked and called my mom while another called 911, my mom said that she would be there as soon as she could. As I laid there I began to lose control of my body I could not feel anything but tiredness. Unaware I peed right there on the gym floor. After that my lifeless body, was in control of the EMT’s as they laid me on the cold stretcher board, and strapped me in every way possible. After my dad and I were securely in the ambulance it took off at the speed of light. The spaghetti I had eaten earlier was now everywhere in the ambulance from the blanket that covered me, to the dirty ambulance floor. Everything became a blur and I remembered nothing more. Until I became somewhat human again in my big hospital room at Kosair Children’s Hospital.
I found out that I had a stroke due to a blood clot in my neck that passed through a hole in my heart. For the next four months, I was like a six year old, that could not walk. I had partial paralysis on the left side of my body, and I said everything that came to my mind even if it was telling my mom I loved her twenty- seven times a day. I would spend this time in the Fraizer Rehab Center learning to walk again, and in the hospital bed gaining back my strength. “I’ll get tough, don’t you worry ‘bout me anymore.”
Now five years later, I am doing quite well. In fact a few months ago I was outside under the warm sun, with my old glove, throwing a softball back and forth with a friend. Although I still have some weakness on my left side, I continue to go on with my life doing the things I love. I am also currently enrolled in college, and have had a steady job for a couple of years. So like the song says,…. “It’ll be alright again……I’m okay!”