PORTLAND, Ore. -- A short drive turned into a medical emergency for a Southeast Portland woman, as she had to drive for about two blocks with her eyes closed.
“It was very scary,” said Phyllis Forsyth, who suffered a stroke behind the wheel on November 4.
Forsyth, 79, was driving west on Southeast Powell Boulevard near 35th Avenue when she felt the stroke come on. She lost control of parts of her body, including her eyelids, which closed involuntarily.
“I was veering all over the road!” she recalled.
Forsyth doesn’t drink alcohol, but at that moment, Forsyth said she wished someone around her had thought that’s what she had been doing.
“I kept praying that the woman behind me would call 911, thinking I was drunk,” said Forsyth. “I didn't know how I was going to get off the road.”
Forsyth said she drove blind for two blocks, then guessed where the turn lane was to The Original Taco House on Powell Boulevard.
“I just held my eye open until I saw there was a big break in traffic, and I went across and into the driveway,” she said.
Forsyth’s friend of 70 years, Neola Larsen, had been expecting Forsyth at her house that afternoon.
“Unbelievable,” said Larsen. “It’s so lucky that she didn't hurt herself or somebody else.”
Forsyth hoped her story would encourage people to call 911 if they see someone driving erratically.
“You might save a life,” said Forsyth. “If they're drunk they need to be off the road; if they're having a medical problem, they need to be off the road and getting medical help.”
Larsen echoed Forsyth’s concern, admitting that she had, on occasion, ignored erratic drivers.
“How would you feel if that that car was in an accident later and somebody died?” Larsen said. “It's worth a few minutes of your time to call 911.”