Oct. 23, 2015, I was at my desk on my computer late at night and my leg felt as if it was going to sleep on my right side. Then arm started to hurt, so I went to bed. I got up at 7:30 am on the 24th and went about some Saturday errands.
At 1ish, I went to help at my son’s school for the Fall Festival. At 3ish, my head was pounding so I went home to lie down. I got anxious and could not lie down. My Mom was in town, so I said, “come on… we are going to the hospital”. I drove to an emergency room/surgery center because I knew there would be no wait even though I am closet to 3 other hospitals that are always busy.
I drove over the speed limit, but by time I got there, I knew what was happening. I am a Health Coach with Celiac Disease and I am very in tune with what goes on with my body. So, I walked in saying, “I AM HAVING A STROKE!” They tried talking me out of that with the standard standing tests. As I started cursing telling them my father passed from a Cerebral Hemorrhage at 36 years old, I had just turn 49 and I began cursing as my face dropped on the right, and them my PB was sky high. OH… OKAY, YES, SHE IS HAVING A STROKE.
In the exam room, I was given some medication and the stroke seemed to pass faster than it came but the damage was done. I had numbness and weakness on my right side. My head hurt like the time I was given Armor Thyroid for my Hypothyroid and it caused migraines that made me vomit.
I had a CT scan but they did not have anyone for the MRI on the weekend. So, I was taken by ambulance to the hospital about 5 miles away. I was a Direct Admit into a room. The staff came running to hook me up to everything. I was babbling, but thank GOD, I would think enough to kick a nurse out of my room that wanted to do a swallow eval with a turkey sandwich. I was last in that hospital May, June and July, so my records are clear that, “I have CELIAC and DON’T EAT SANDWICHES!” I asked her was she trying to kill me. She went off looking for pudding which she never found.
I finally got the MRI that showed an Ischemic Stroke; a blockage on the left side of my brain that affected my right side. I was monitored all night. They told me I stopped breathing and should probably be on a C pap for Sleep Apnea. It was a long night with all the coming and going, being hooked up and off of equipment.
The next morning, I was evaluated by Speech, PT, Neurologist and the floor attending physician. I was discharged that evening. The worst part is that I was released to go home and figure my life out on my own. I was not given a list of phone numbers to services or support groups. My head still hurt like I had been hit in the head with a hammer and all I could do is sleep. So I did. My son was at his dad’s during this time and when he returned, I explained the whole thing to him.
So for the most 2016, I was in Speech and Cognitive therapy. I was in Occupational Therapy twice in 2016. I have been in Physical Therapy 3 times and continue now. Insurance only allows a limited number of visits, and then requires a wait and a reevaluation before returning.
I still have some weakness and balance issues. I continue to have a headache (mostly on the right side) everyday and fatigue. My right leg feels like it has a steel plate for a shin. It hurts all the time, at various degrees. My right arm feels like it has a brick attached, but I use it through the pain. I had half my hair cut off to shorten the amount of time I have to use it every day. I have to check my patience and anxiety. There are days where I am short with people and know when to take a few minutes alone. If, I had to pick the worst issue after head pain, my second biggest issue is cognition. The expressive aphasia still exists. I think in my brain what I want to say, but at times, I can’t get the words out. I usually pause, briefly explain to the person what s happening and by then, the words connect. Oh, and my memory SUCKS! Sometimes, I cannot spell the simplest of words. If I did not know a person or thing before the stroke, it takes a repeated interaction to remember it/them. Everything I do, takes longer to do it. My life requires a lot more planning. I take 3 Rx, but the doctors want me on more. I avoid RX because with Celiac, gut health and balance is a slippery slope. I also have to call each manufacture (usually in India) to make sure they don’t have gluten in the pills. The US pharmacies don’t want the liability, so they won’t make the calls.
Al though I try to not let it consume me, I live in fear of Dementia or Alzheimer’s due to the traumatic brain injury. I have not returned to full-time employment, as I have no idea how that would work out. Clocking it on a set schedule would not work most days. I continue to work towards expanding my private business endeavors.
The proudest thing is that my son knows he has my support and he has not skipped a beat. He excels in his education and sports. I do what I can at school and with homework and I’m always going to be Team Mom. His health is very important to be too. I cook just about every day. I try to have leftover at times for the next day, but he is a teen whom eats like a grown man.
So that is my story. Regardless to how “minor” a person’s stroke was, NO ONE IS EVER UNAFFECTED AFTER A STROKE. If you can relate, please share your story with me.