Tuesday, November 22, 2011

First Stroke as a Warning

One Week ago today, I was bustling around my house getting ready to go to a dinner at my church. I needed to take a pumpkin pie out of the oven first, and it smelled almost done. When the timer went off, I carefully tested it and removed it, setting it on the counter top to cool. Then I walked into my dining room to get my purse and a box to put the pie in. All of a sudden, my right hand started to tingle, then so did my arm. In a few seconds my whole hand and right arm up to my shoulder went numb and this sensation proceeded up my neck and cheek and over to my lips on my right side. I suspected a stroke coming on, my first ever. I had read about signs of stroke many times, so I really was pretty sure what was happening. I called my husband, Chuck, and immediately lay down and took two aspirins. I called my doctor and got through to him immediately. He told me to be driven directly to the emergency room. My husband got me there within 30 minutes from the onset of the symptoms.

They took me into the exam room immediately after they took my blood pressure which was extremely high--about 220 over 130. They gave me medication to lower it intervenously and got it to come down a lot, but it remained high for quite awhile. The symptoms went away quickly, except that I couldn't raise my right leg more than two inches off the table, and my smile drooped on the left side. I stayed in the hospital for two nights and they did more tests including CT scans and an MRI and sonograms and heart monitoring. There was no bleeding in the brain or visible damage to the brain,and my heart is OK. They diagnosed it as a transient ischemic attack or TIA. My doctor said it could have been a mild stroke also which started from the brain stem and wasn't included in the MRI test and was probably caused by a small blood clot that blocked a vessel on my right side. Anyway it was a warning to me to get my blood pressure under control and learn to deal with stress better. I now have a couple of more medications to take to help with this.

I am also to start using my CPAP machine every night again. I had discontinued using it due to the inconvenience, but I now realize that was not a wise thing to do. Apparently, it helps to even out the blood pressure when used to prevent the sleep apnea from causing sudden spikes in the blood pressure. I promised the doctor to do a better job to keep get my blood pressure lowered.

I am so thankful that it wasn't a big stroke. I am looking forward to enjoying Thanksgiving with our good friends and neighbors, Hal and Dee Jones. I think my son, David, will join us with one of his friends.

I am glad I am able to do my normal activities as usual except that I get tired more easily and am slightly weaker on my right side. I have been able to sleep better during the night since I came home from the hospital and have been taking new medications also. I did a short workout at the gym today also, and was able to do most of the exercises one step lower than usual and about half the time as usual. I hope to be able to build up to where I was before this event.