Really, if you ever think you’re having a stroke, you probably are. I found out, one year ago tonight, when I began having a stroke. A friend from my yoga class this morning told me that a ‘bleed’ is called a ‘Red Stroke’ and a ‘clot’ (which I had) is a ‘white stroke’ … who knew? It’s all so interesting, and what a year it’s been for us. I know my stroke symptoms weren’t evident until the next morning, Jan. 18, but the evening of the 17th, around 11:30 p.m., I got up because I couldn’t go to sleep, fixed some hot tea, then promptly sloshed it all over me, the coffee table, the end table, the floor … easily 2/3 of the cup of tea sloshed out of the cup … I’m sure that’s when it first began. Or maybe that was why I couldn’t sleep to begin with? Who knows! I just know the next morning, around 3:30 a.m. when I again got up because I couldn’t sleep, I shattered a glass in the bathroom first thing, then dropped two coffee mugs, dropped the phone receiver twice, and dropped the remote control twice, all with my right hand. It’s funny … if you’re having a stroke, or at least for me, the thing you don’t do is connect the dots. You think (or I did) … Good Grief. My right hand is NOT working!! But the dots didn’t come together to say … it means you’re having a stroke. Call 911. All my right brain told me was .. .”Humm … interesting.” 😦
So, listen up folks, especially if you’re a woman. Whatever you do, if you think you’re having a stroke, for God’s sakes, go shave your legs before you call 911 or leave for the emergency room. And I’m not kidding. For the next three days, every Dr., Nurse, and practitioner in the hospital will come into your cubicle or room, push up your gown, push down your socks (which we all wear in the hospital because they keep the damn places so cold), and then they’ll rub their hands up and down your shins. Some medical person told me what ‘reaction’ they’re looking for, but I can’t remember … it doesn’t matter. In a couple of days I had probably 20 different people running their hands up and down the front of my lower legs. And me? Had I shaved my legs recently? Of course not!!!! I could’ve died. And I don’t mean from the stoke. I mean from humiliation!
But, today is a celebration day for me. I fixed a favorite dinner tonight, we toasted our good health with a delicous chilled white wine, and were pretty quiet – thankful, I think. I mean, what else is there to say? Made it, one year. Yea. The neurologist at the hospital told me that 20% of stroke patients will have another stroke within one year. Gasp. I worried about that the entire year. Every morning I would go into the bathroom, stand in front of the mirror and hold out my arms and hands straight, to see if a hand or arm migt be drooping. What I know now, from being in the Sacred Heart Stroke Center a couple of days, is that my left hand and arm were perfectly straight in front of me, but the right arm was straight with the hand flopping around like a wounded duck. They’d say, “Hold BOTH arms and hands out straight, and I’d say, “I AM!” Like … HOW many times do I have to do this??? Well, enough, I guess is the answer. When I came home I wondered what on earth they were all looking at. I held my arms and hands out straight and … oops … what’s that right hand doing? Oh … I see … Hummm … dead give away, I guess.
They also asked, “Touch your index finger on each hand to your nose.” Oh, good grief. How simple is that? Left index to my nose, OK. Right index … humm … going off in La-La land … touched the ring finger, instead, to my nose. I remember looking up at the Dr. and saying, “Well, guess I flunked that one, didn’t I?” Ahhhhh … yes. I did. Flunk the test, that is. But I’m here to tell you they were wonderful, gave me excellent care, and I am ever so grateful for all of that care, as well as the 6 weeks of out-patient therapy at St. Luke’s.
And to the friends who drove me hither and yon before they would let me drive again. Hopefully this is a thing of the past. They told me the only factor for stroke I had was that I was taking the osteoporosis medication Evista … looking it up on line I see lots of people taking it involved in stroke-induced class action law suits. I don’t want to bother with any of that. I just want to thank the people who helped me thorugh a very difficult time … like my family, and friends … and yes, today is a very good day, indeed!
It’s so true, isn’t it, that when we have our health, we have everything. Raising my coffee cup in a toast to your good health … Cheers 🙂
Thank you, Joanne. Hearing back from you so soon, I feel like I’ve come full circle this monring. Just ordered ‘Seven Year Switch’ by Claire Cook. Do you have any books out yet? Am I just a dunce on the internet? Looked to order. Found only your wonderful blog. If there’s a book out there that you’ve written, I want it. Thanks again, RA
It’s odd, I just wrote briefly about my own experience having a stroke when I was 18. But it may be too general to say that if you think you’re having a stroke you probably are. Reading through common symptoms, many of them can occur for other reason. Whenever I got scared after my stroke that I might be having another I’d try to balance on one foot or hold both of my hands out in front of me to check that I had symmetrical muscle strength. I’m glad you’re recovering well 🙂