Hello World!


my name is Matt Ramsey; I was born in 1971, on July 4th. At the age of nine, I suffered my first stroke, compliments of an Arterio Venous Malformation in my brain. (Actually, I’ve been let know that my birthmark is the stigmata, left over from a first stroke I had in the womb.)

Thereafter, until May of 1987, I experienced several more cerebral hemorrhages and was able to bounce right back, following several weeks of crushing headaches, having to lie flat on my back until the hemorrhage site had coagulated, flaked away and had been dissolved into my spinal fluid.

The last stroke, however, was somewhat different than all the rest.

The day the last one happened, I remember being picked up at my high school, partway through the day and, somehow, innately knowing that the stroke I had just sustained was extremely different.

My final “inner-explosion” was even way more severe than the hemorrhage I experienced, having done a one and a half of the high dive at St. Mary’s College, in Southern Maryland…the one that, despite the massive pain, I managed to swim to the side of the pool, make my way up the ladder and walk all the way back to my dorm, before telling anyone what had happened.

The Monster: My last bleed, just happened. I can’t even recall anything about the day, prior to the near-fatal event. I don’t remember sophomore year homeroom that day or even what class I was in when my final stroke occurred. I do remember being picked up at the front of the school by my mother and walking, amid the customary post-hemorrhage, yet still-hemorrhaging, waves of misery:

intense nausea, to the point of nearly-dry heaving, the jolting of which would open up another successive, extended, radiating hogshead of whup-ass on my system.

The ensuing siff neck and massive, physical neck pain: nothing like the pain you waken to after having slept a little crooked…this pain can scarcely be described, other than to say that its kinda like being immersed in fire, as you are beaten severely to a bloody pulp.

The thing is, when you experience an AVM stroke, its a kind of double-edged sword, involving massive, crushing stimulus that makes any migraine headache seem like a mere speed bump amid the “AVM Stroke Himalayas”; however, if you weren’t born with a handy, dandy extra set of of vessels, the temporary loss of physical and cognitive faculties would be permanent or, at least, many, many times more permanently debilitating.

Instead of lying flat on my back for three to five weeks, taking greater and greater dosages of codeine (as my body grew, over the years, so did the amount of codeine I required to ease the effects of my many, different strokes), another person, born without an AVM might, potentially, have waited and waited for his or her physical reprieve, only, eventually, having to be let know that the pain was only going to intensify, perpetually, or was going to dissipate, only to resurge, in full force, at the drop of someone’s else’s hat.



15 thoughts on “Hello World!

    1. mattramzzz says:

      Once the time had elapsed, such to allow me to think straight, even when I was receiving c’s and b’s, I always had it in mind that I was destined to be an English major, Michael; due to my crappy short-term-memory, I did well in lectures and non-hugely reading-intensive situations; however, based on the cumulative grading system of the undergrad curriculum, even if I kicked the crap out of the class participation thing, many times, I would mess up on finals and get 1 to 2 grades lower than I probably should have received.

      1. Michael C Strand says:

        I can definitely identify with that. I’m back in school and finishing up my lit English degree and I do well in class discussions and in writing papers, but taking tests is tough and just keeping things straight is tough. I’ve got American Lit, Modernism, and Shakespeare. It is difficult to keep separate what is said in one class and what is assigned in what class. I have to keep very organized, because I certainly can’t rely on my memory to keep it all straight. I get my homework done way ahead of the due date because it eats at me if I still have to do it. Once its done I can rest. Fortunately now that I’m in my junior year I only have English classes left and those are relatively easy compared to the physics I took last semester that almost consumed me.

      2. mattramzzz says:

        One thing that was different for me as a grad student was that I was able, due to the fact that the degree consisted of 1/4 as many credits as my bachelor’s, to concentrate on one or two classes at a time.

      3. mattramzzz says:

        If I already didn’t say so, I was an English/creative writing major, as an undergrad. If I would have known about writing tutoring opportunities, I would have starting going that alot sooner. Its weird that people don’t sometimes realize the subtle differences that exist between English, Writing, Journalism and Writing Ed. Programs.

      4. mattramzzz says:

        Actually, though, the fact your procrastination lights a fire under you could work out to your benefit. You could explain that reality to your professors, to let them know where you’re coming from, to let them know that, if there is a discrepancy between your seeming interest and grasp of course content and what scores you make on tests, you might be able to acquire more consideration, before a Prof gives you a B-, instead of a B, an A-, instead of an A or C, instead of a B.

      5. mattramzzz says:

        Not to mention the fact that, if you convince an employer that you are aware of the situation and that it is your mission not to let it cause you to do what you need to do in the workplace, to succeed, you could, likely, have a much easier time attaining, keeping and/or advancing in employment terms.

      6. mattramzzz says:

        What I did, every Fall Semester, in grad school, was, before the semester began, get my classes’ reading lists and pre-read each text, taking notes. I went really fast, too. However, the fact that I did this made it possible for me to do better, as I was more aware of what was going to turn up, next, before it turned up.

        Some semesters, I would have ten textbooks for one class. Using voice recognition software made pre-reading alot more effective and easier.

      7. Michael C Strand says:

        I was going to do that, in fact, I did it my first semester, but I found it unnecessary. I do find it necessary to re-read or at least review everything the day of class (all my classes are night classes) to reinforce what I have read. Thank you for your attention and replies BTW! It really helps to hear what worked for you.

      8. mattramzzz says:

        Upper level science is brutal. My use of voice recognition software has restrengthened my memory; but, I don’t want ever to take a chemistry class again.

        I hate chemistry.

    2. mattramzzz says:

      It happened so long ago, Michael, that it really seems to be surreal, at times.

      I know was it real and it really did happen to me; however, the fact that I’ve been able to double back, recuperate and start to succeed again makes everything that did happen seem to be just a set of irritants.

      The way an oyster or a clam makes a pearl is by way of having an inadvertent irritant get into its shell, whereupon the mollusk internally secretes a calcififying agent to encase the irritant.

      When one shucks open the shell, he or she finds the pearl. I had to wait and persevere for a pretty long time to wait for my shell to open.

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