Friday, September 17, 2010


A longtime friend is recovering from a stroke and recently sent me this account of his experience:

On June 2, I was driving to St. Francis Hospital's outpatient clinic for a routine stress test for heart.The hospital is about 7 miles from home. Not quite halfway there, I ran off the right side of a two-lane road for no reason. I came back onto the street, and made a right turn a few blocks later. In the middle of the turn, I suddenly went double vision, then triple vision. The SUV I was meeting became three, and the car in front of me became three. the two yellow lines on the road became four yellow lines. But, nothing in my brain told me to stop. So, I kept driving, eye glasses falling off my face, visions of people's terrified faces (people I was meeting and heading at head-on, I'm guessing, before swerving back into my lane) and blurred and tripple vision of a traffic signal, which I recall was green in color. Yet I kept driving because nothing told me to stop. I drove to the hospital, ran over two parking lot curbs, walked into the building and signed in at the stress test window.
Still, I said nothing. I gave them insurance information and sat down, at which time i sensed a veil - get this - coming over my head in the form of a tan chamois. That lasted about a minute, then cleared up and they called my name to go back and get the stress test.
I walked in, sat down, and told the technician that I couldn't do it. Asked why, I told her and the next thing I knew they were wheeling me to the emergency room. They gave me an MRI, CAT scans, blah, blah, blah, They called my wife and she called our pastor and friend and they met me at the hospital. The doctors there said it was a mild stroke and they sent me home with instructions to prepare for a larger stroke, possibly in a week or two. But, they sent me to a cardiologist and neurologist who put me on all kind of meds to prevent blood clots.
Two weeks ago, they finished a number of tests and the diagnosis was "mild stroke," probably a blood clot from my heart that went to the brain, hung around for a few minutes, and moved on.
I'm now on blood thinner that requires weekly blood tests and an assortment of meds.
CAT scans showed I have had several previous mild strokes, so the concern is that a big one needs to be avoided.
As mild as it was, it did a number of me in terms of dizziness and feeling like my head was in a vise. It gradually went away and I have good and bad days. Today was a kind of bad day.
That's caused by thin blood, but the cardiologist two weeks ago told me I have no choice.
"That, or a wheelchair," he told me. The good news is that I'm not slobbering on myself and limping like I've got a rock in my left shoe.

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