SPRING, TX – Doctors saving patients: happens every day. But patients saving doctors?? Not so much. That’s what happened to pediatrician Charnette Taylor.
“I was seeing patients, and all of a sudden, I got this overwhelming feeling to sit down,” said Taylor. “And I remember taking a deep breath, and I kind of collapsed on the chair. I was seeing a baby and the parent of the baby said, ‘Dr. Taylor. are you okay? Do you need help?'”
She did, and her nurses came rushing in. “I wasn’t responding with words and I didn’t know that,” the doctor explains, “I was going, ‘Um, um, um, um.'” She tried getting someone to call her husband on her cellphone but couldn’t recognize the letters to type in her own passcode.
The 38-year-old M.D., who always watched her blood pressure, cholesterol and got regular checkups, had had a stroke.
“I had a hole in my heart, and I was born with it and never knew about it,” she explains, “A clot formed and passed through the hole in my heart to my brain to cause the stroke.”
But Charnette says her faith never let her panic, “I remember being overwhelmed with the peace that– something told me this would not kill me.”
During a stroke, time is of the essence. Charnette received tPA, a clot-busting drug, pretty quickly and was in an MRI within an hour and a half. While inside, her brain began recovering. “All of a sudden, it was like letters just appeared. Almost like I lighted a match and somebody had written the alphabet in kerosene,” Charnette says, “All the letters came back.”
After that, it took nearly two years of difficult speech therapy, but today, she sees the stroke as a source of blessings, “My kids tell me, ‘Mom, we are not glad you had the stroke, but we are glad you had the stroke because you’re with us more.'”
Tough stuff for a type-A workaholic to hear, but it won’t keep her from returning to medicine. “It’s what I love,” she says with a smile, “but I want to find a balance (so) I can take care of my family and take care of my patients in a more balanced way.”
A prescription for life we can all learn from.