A Stroke Gets My Attention
It was 2010. We kept the mobile home but had moved back to a tiny two-room cottage in Rosemead, not far from Montebello where I had done so much business. Maravilla was working and bringing in some income. My good old truck was still running. I still maintained the habit of exercising daily in any way I could—walking, using a stationary bike, whatever.
One day, things were going along normally. My exercises for the day were done; I was getting ready for my shower. The phone rang. David, a good friend, called, “Ozzie, why don’t we get some lunch?”
“Hey, sounds pretty good. I’m just about to take a shower. Come over in the next hour and I’ll be ready.” He agreed. As I put the phone down, I started to have a strange feeling, like I was going to faint. As I sat on the edge of my bed, I started to feel like I was sliding down the side of the bed. By then, I knew for sure something was going on.
I said to myself, I’d better get my glucose meter. Maybe my blood sugar is way off. I started towards the kitchen where I keep all my paraphernalia. By then, I felt worse. Now I was dragging my naked butt across the floor into the kitchen. I couldn’t find the glucose meter, so I decided to try my blood pressure cuff. I could just barely get it on. It told me my heartbeat was only 10 beats per minute. I said to myself, Oh, Ozzie. You know, this is it, baby. I guess this is gonna be when you’ll be leaving.
I realized I should call my wife to say goodbye. I dragged myself towards the phone, reached for it, but it fell onto the floor. I picked it up, but with my vision problems, I couldn’t make out the numbers. I just started punching the buttons. I just pushed anything.
All of a sudden, David’s voice came on, “Ozzie, are you calling me?”
I wanted to tell him I wasn’t feeling well and needed help, but I was mumbling. Somehow he understood what was going on and said, “Look, Ozzie, let me call Eric. I’ll call you back.”
“All right.” I was sitting naked on the cold floor. I felt like I was going to die. I said to myself, This is how it feels. You just go into a deep sleep. Then I remembered that my teacher told me if I was ever in a tight spot to just call for him inside of me. I focused within and asked, “Well, J-R, I’m in a tight spot. Can you help?”
I was just barely conscious. My son, Louie, came through the kitchen window and opened the locked door for the paramedics. Then my wife, my brother Ronnie, my friend, David, and Pancho, my brother-in-law, all arrived.
When I gained more awareness, I was in the emergency room. I really thought I would be in a morgue somewhere. The doctor came in, saw I was awake, and asked, “How’re you doing?”
I said, “You tell me.”
“Well, you had a multiple stroke event!”
“Oh, I did?”
“Yeah,” he said, “but how do you feel?”
“Well, I don’t know. I don’t know. I feel a little bit tired. I feel like I can’t move that well.”
“Yes, that would be the result of the stroke. We took two kinds of scans, including an MRI, and clearly you had quite a few small strokes. But I’m surprised, because your body is moving pretty well. Your legs are moving. You’re responding fairly well. You know where you are and that we’re doctors right?” I answered that I did. He continued, “I’m really surprised that you’re doing so well with what you had.”
I said, “Well, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but . . . is that good or is that bad?”
“It’s not that good,” he said, “so we’ll keep you in this ward now while you gain more of your consciousness, and then we’ll see where to send you.” Soon I was in a regular room. Maravilla stayed with me the whole time. Other people visited.
My doctor came by the following day, “How do you feel?”
“You know, I feel pretty good.”
“You look really good. I’m really surprised. I don’t know how you did it—I mean with all that has happened to you—but you’re doing fantastic.”
“Good. What about some therapy? What can I get?”
“You are going to be under observation and treatment for a week. After that, we’ll get a therapist to come in.”
— Ozzie, vulnerable in body, strong in spirit—with support and devotion from Maravilla. —
After a week, I started therapy. Soon I was in a wheelchair, rolling myself around the hospital. I asked them, “Give me the maximum therapy, time-wise.”
The doctor said, “OK, if you can take it, we’ll give it to you.” I was on the maximum number of 40-minute sessions they would give me. I had to learn how to walk again, just like a baby. I responded quickly. Soon I was walking with a walker. In three weeks, they sent me home with a wheelchair and my walker. I ended up with some residual problems, which I later overcame.
This story is still another example of my being undermined by spirit. Because spirit is mean? No, it is because I had said to spirit, “This is what I want to do in this lifetime. When I visit the planet, I’m going to do this. I want to really know who I am. In order for me to learn who I am, I have to let go of a lot of the illusions I have surrounded myself with, thinking they were me.” When I owned buildings and property, I had felt that it made me a bigger man—it gave me lots of recognition. Sure, all those possessions were great, but just like John-Roger told me, I was drowning in the ocean when I really only intended to enjoy the sunset.
When I called on my spiritual teacher inside of me, he was there. He answered the call. I’m really grateful. The love I have for him continues to grow. I continue to see him in my life, and I continue to see and learn more of who I am because, as he says, “You are me and I am you. OK? So no big deal. Just keep on trucking.” And that’s what I’m doing.
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