January 12th, 2020—a beautiful Sunday at Riverbend Country Club in Houston, Texas, and a full day of teaching on the lesson tee for me. I just couldn’t wait!
I was only able to finish my first lesson before my life took a drastic turn.
On my way back to the front of the range, I suddenly lost consciousness, and when I came back around, I had no idea how much time had passed.
A small group of people, paramedics, and police cars crowded around me near our golf shop, everyone trying to convince me to go to the hospital. At the time, I didn’t know why. I insisted to everyone that I was fine; I just needed to go home and rest for a bit. But my friend and student, Jean, broke the ultimate news to me and though her words filled me with fear, I am so thankful for her being there that day to get me into that ambulance.
“Deb,” she said, “you have had a stroke. We’re going to the hospital—now!”
My surgeon friend was heading home on that Sunday night. He was ready to exit the freeway home when he got the call. He made a quick U-turn on the freeway and was backtracking to Sugar Land Methodist Hospital to perform my emergency surgery.
Thankfully, the surgery was a success. And after I got out of the operating room, everyone would wait and see how I was going to recover.
When I woke up in the hospital, it was the middle of the day. A group of my friends were in the room with me, talking and watching TV as they visited.
I said, “Sure can’t hear the TV too well with all this chit-chat.”
The whole group looked to me suddenly in shocked silence and then immediate thrilled delight.
Right away, I was asked to move my arms and legs and talk, talk, talk! I was stiff and sore with a headache, but I felt good as the hospital staff checked on me.
They told me I had been asleep for nineteen days, and that I was one of the lucky ones. None of it really sank in until I was prescribed heavy duty physical therapy for the next ten weeks.
I nearly died when I learned this. Couldn’t I just go home? Thankful that I was that I was on the path to recovery, I just wanted to get back to the golf course and my students.
When I went to my first group therapy meeting and saw the others I would be rehabilitating with, my attitude changed very quickly. So many folks were impacted so much more than I was, and it settled in how fortunate I had been. I decided then and there to be a model patient, and I would do whatever was asked of me (which, if you know me, is no easy task).
The physical and mental therapies were so difficult while at the same time so incredible. I am so lucky that I had such a hardworking team of therapists.
On May 1st, fifteen weeks after my stroke, the daily 8-5 therapy ended and the grueling in-home therapy began.
While I recovered, I was insistent on getting back to what I love: teaching people to play this wonderful game of golf. And I am happy to say that since late summer, I have been back in action at the Riverbend Country Club and filled with so much gratitude for everyone who helped me along the way—family, friends from the LPGA, RBCC, school, teammates and my students! I cannot thank you all enough for your kindness and support! I am reminded every day when I get back on that lesson tee, how lucky I am to be able to keep playing this game with all of you.