I think this is a good idea; how could it not be a good idea to educate children about the symptoms of stroke? After all, the faster a stroke is recognized and treated, the better the chances of recovery, and so more people in any household knowing the signs of stroke is better, right? Right, in theory. In actuality it only helps if the people educated on the symptoms of stroke are of sound mind, and I think we can all agree that middle school-aged children are not of sound mind.
Any parent could have told Novant Health that the result of educating eleven year olds on the symptoms of stroke was going to be, well… Blogosphere, I’ve been diagnosed with stroke symptoms several times in the past few weeks. It’s just all-stroke, all the time. And I don’t want to make a joke of this, because what if I do have one someday? I’ll be lying on the kitchen floor, the stroke damage becoming more permanent with every passing second, while my children navigate around me, saying “Oh, Mom’s just messing with us again. Whatsa matter? You paralyzed, Mom?”
And so, with every muscle spasm or foot fallen to sleep, I submit to Matt’s stroke test.
“STOP!” Matt commands. “Smile!”
“Hold it, hold it,” he says, as he checks first one cheek and then the other, comparing them for symmetry.
We go through all the steps of the test, finishing once I’ve clearly enunciated the words “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
I’m hoping that Matt will mellow once this information is no longer so novel, much as he did after going through the school’s D (drug) A (abuse) R (resistance) E (education) program last year. After his D.A.R.E. education, and newly armed with more knowledge of illegal drug use than your average flophouse junkie, it took a year for that program’s effects to fade. A year before I could pour the occasional glass of chianti and not have my son react by looking at me–a haunted, crack-baby look in his eyes– and asking, “Moooom? Are you an alcoholic?”
On the other hand, many parents are probably unaware that their children have been involved in Novant Health’s stroke awareness program. Were they to know this, they might appreciate a bit more concern as they are lying paralyzed on their kitchen floors, thinking: “I’m lying paralyzed on the kitchen floor and you’re asking me for more ice cream? Did you not learn F.A.S.T.? Do the T, child, the T!”
I’m just saying that perhaps the people at Novant Health, when they decided to sponsor this educational unit in the local schools, were on drugs or something. Because there are good reasons why we don’t put eleven year olds in charge of our major medical decisions.