It was March 17th, St. Patty’s morn’ and I had taken up my usual position on the sofa, in front of the TV with my computer at my side. The Today show was on and I was sipping a cup of coffee and enjoying the Riverdance troupe dancing on the plaza at Studio One A. I love the sound-track and was thinking what a nice way to start the day.
All of a sudden, I noticed something weird going on with my left hand in which I was holding my coffee cup. My fingers and hand were going numb, so I put the cup down, thinking maybe I was holding it wrong, you know? Gradually, I lost the feeling in my whole arm. Very scary. After a few minutes it subsided. Okay, that was different, but it went away, so I’m all right. A few minutes later my mouth began to tingle and before I knew it, the left side of my tongue went numb. Just like the Dentist had given me a shot of Novocain. At this point I was spooked. Were these the first signs of a stroke? Should I call Sam? Should I call 911? Should I wait to see if I have anything else go numb?
I speed dialed Sam at work and told him what had happened. He said he would hurry home and take me to the hospital, but if I got worse, I should call 911. I went upstairs and got dressed then checked the internet for the nearest ER. We made our way slowly, due to the fact I had the directions written down but screwed up on a turn and our GPS was not locating the satellites. Sam and I were both able to keep our composure and he did a really good job (patience is not one of his virtues.)
We went to Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights and from the minute I walked in, they made me feel like was their number one priority. I explained my symptoms and they immediately sent me to triage. My blood pressure was 198/100 (wow) never has been that high. They wheeled me to a room, I put a gown on and they got to work. EKG, more BP checks, a shot of Ativan through an IV (thank you sir, may I have another?) and five baby aspirin with a water chaser. By now the symptoms had passed so I figured they would sent me home, ‘cuz I obviously was o.k. Not so fast missy, “We need to run more tests so we are going to admit you for observation,” he said with an incredulous look on his face that I would even be surprised at being assigned a bed. Looks like I’m staying
Another interesting sidebar involved a cardboard bedpan, which I broke when they sat it under me and peed all over myself and the gurney. What brain surgeon invented a cardboard bedpan?
They said I had a CT scan, but I don’t remember it. (Could be the Ativan cocktail.) It was late afternoon before my blood pressure went down to a reasonable level, but that didn’t stop them from taking it every two hours through the night. This was my first hospital stay since having my Son 36 years ago so I had forgotten that you really don’t get any rest when you are there. They alternated between calling me Mrs. Bond and Theresa, which is o.k. but the flu shot at 12:00 a.m. and the blood draw at 4:00 a.m. were a little much. Then there was my roommate who needed a bedpan every hour or so and her IV alarm that kept going off just when I was dozing off.
As I was watching TV in my hospital bed (which by the way is a nice alternative to the couch), I thought of my Dad and how it was always him in the hospital situation. The rest of us have all been healthy. Age is catching up with me and I am not happy about it.
After another day of testing they let me out of the asylum (as Dad would say). All the tests were normal except my MRI. There was some white stuff in the top of my brain which may indicate a problem. Small vessel disease, which is usually seen in people my Mother’s age, Vasculitis (sp) and something that sounded a lot like dementia. Hopefully the next MRI will not show anything, except my brain of course. The diagnosis is a TIA or “mini stroke”.
Suffice it to say I am officially scared and will watch my blood pressure, caffeine, salt intake, and exercise when I am up to it. So much for losing 10 pounds by my birthday. My goal now is to be here April 18th.