By BECKY ANDREWS
One afternoon in June of 2011 something that felt like a sledge hammer hit Captain Jason Gray as he sat at his desk reviewing incident reports, something he had been doing since 1998 when he took a position with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department. “Everything inside my head shook. It didn’t really hurt but everything seemed to change for me after that.” Jason says with a serious tone followed by a laugh.
It’s a Monday morning when Jason and his wife, Danielle begin telling me about the day they found out Jason, a strong, healthy husband and father of two, survived five strokes.
When Jason talks about it you would never guess that he’s had any medical issues. As his wife puts it, ‘He’s just as annoying now as he was before the strokes.’ She’s kidding of course. Jason and Danielle have one of those marriages that is made stronger with laughter. And it’s that laughter that helped sustain them both during a period of time filled with tests, doctor visits, little sleep, hospital stays and finally a diagnosis. While they were thrilled to finally have answers, the diagnosis also meant the beginning of another season of life filled with more questions.
It was June of last year when Jason had the ‘sledgehammer’ moment while sitting in this office. Later that afternoon he called Danielle and said he was going to the emergency room. “Because he’s always joking around, I ignored what he said and started telling him about something else.” Danielle says. So Jason went home and the following week decided to make an appointment with Ophthalmologist, Dr. Wayne Boles to discuss his vision. When Dr. Boles suggested a prescription for glasses, Jason told him that his vision wasn’t just blurry but he was missing vision. Dr. Boles scheduled what would be the first of many tests. When this test revealed that Jason’s vision was being blocked from the brain, Dr. Boles immediately sent Jason to University Medical Center in Lebanon for an MRI.
After the MRI, Jason and Danielle went home to wait for the results. At 11 pm that night, Dr. Boles called and informed Jason that the MRI showed he had a stroke and that was the reason behind his vision loss. “We were in shock! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.” Danielle said while squeezing her husband’s hand. Jason was referred to a Neurologist but when they went to the appointment the doctor said Jason needed to see someone who was a specialist in MS. Shaking his head Jason says,
“We didn’t know what to say. Did I have a stroke or not?” Danielle jumps in, “Now we were convinced he had MS. So the next day we went to our family physician, Dr. Sorrels.” Sorrells started a panel of tests used to diagnose Multiple Sclerosis. He also ordered additional tests on Jason’s heart.