Sunday, November 21, 2010

Emergency Room visit - "There's an 8-percent chance you will die."

Note: First read prior post - "A funny thing happened after work Wednesday."

Emergency Room Visist - "There's an 8-percent chance you will die."
10:15 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 17

When the experience first happened, my first thought was Bells Palsy. But, the blood pressure gave me a fright.... so my thought as I rushed to the E.R. was "stroke"

I got to the window....

"What are you being seen for?"

"I think I'm having a stroke. My blood pressure is 200/104, I'm having tingling and numbness to right arm and I have blurry vision -- plus I can't see at all out of my left eye.

"Fill these out and bring them back to this window when you're done."

"Are you serious? I just told you I can't see clearly." (I answered calmly and sweetly.)

"If you need help, return to the window and someone will assist you."

I took the closest seat and could not see the form anymore. I got as far as writing my name when James entered. I called him and he rushed over to meet me and get Marisa from me. He filled out the paperwork for me. I returned it to the window. Pretty weak by now. I really thought I would pass out.

Lucky for me, they took everything more serious after they saw my paperwork (or maybe me) and called me in instantly.

Suddenly I was a priority. It was not too busy that night but they still placed me in the trauma - or cardiac - unit and I was immediately clipped to a hundred wires.

They were very thorough. Within minutes, my vitals were taken, an ekg was done, a heparin lock installed in my arm, a chest xray had been done, lab work drawn, they told me I was scheduled for a Cat Scan and that the doctor would see me soon and the on-call neurologist would also see me.

Then they said a stroke consultant was coming in.

She walked in, looked around, walked out and said "where's the patient" -- they pointed to me and she said, "Oh. You're too young for a stroke."

Yeah, I know.

The "stroke consultant" - who looked all of 20 years of age, tested me on time, date, President, a simple little drawing I had to explain, etc. I passed with flying colors.

What I didn't pass was the sobriety test that followed -- put arms up, make circles, hold still.... left arm - no matter how hard I tried to keep it up -- my left arm kept pulling down with gravity.

Yikes - not a good sign.

Then - off to the CAT scan -- (I'll keep results of that to myself.)

The doctor came in, said the neurologist was not available until morning.

He explained my CAT scan result and then proceeded to poke me with a needle -- on the right face cheek, and left. I felt the right, not the left....and so he went down the body, arm, legs, to ankles......I could feel the right, but not the left.

He said I had an option to take a certain (very dangerous) medication. It can only be offered within three hours of stroke onset. AND - I was very lucky to be one of the few people who go straight in and do all the testing. I was having a stroke, apparently. He also said there is an 8-percent chance I could die from taking the medicine if it backfired. (mortal side effect)
I declined it. I told him I didn't think I had a stroke. He agreed with my declining - saying he personally did not recommend it because I was not "serious" enough but that he still had to offer it and he still thought I had more of a stroke than Bells Palsy onset because of my lack of feeling in arm and leg and because of the weakness and tingling to my left side.

I was told at 11:30 p.m. that I would be admitted for a stroke - I was scheduled for an MRI and an MRA of the brain and neck veins the next day, so fine -- I'll stay for observation. Afterall, something was definitely not right.

Well, that was about the last time I saw my nurse. (she had been there all along prior to this)
I sent Marisa home with James about 1 a.m.

I soon realized I was freezing. My left eye would not shut and I was staring up at what seemed like a 200-volt light. I tried calling out to the nurse, but nothing. I laid there in a little gown with nothing over me - not even a sheet. (Thank goodness I was wearing yoga exercise pants)

Finally a cleaning person came in and I kindly told her I was freezing and if she could please get me a sheet and turn off the bright lights. She got me the warmest blanket ever - heated - and then turned off the lights for me.

I couldn't rest - no pillow and I was so uncomfortable. I laid there till 3:30 a.m. when I was told my room was ready. I was going to the cardiac unit of the hospital.

That's when my nightmare really begin.......... more tomorrow.

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