My close encounter
I recently had a mild stroke and thanks to tPA and some quick thinking on my part I was able to avert disaster
On October 20th 2012 I was getting ready for work and noticed that I felt a little off. I didn't really think anything about it and finished getting ready for work. When I got to work, I am an elementary school teacher, I was setting up the schedule for what my class would be doing for that day on my whiteboard. While I was writing I noticed that something looked really weird. The previous year I had a problem with losing my peripheral vision temporarily. This seemed very similar to that in that I noticed at first that things were looking a little fuzzy out of my left eye. Then I noticed that I lost the peripheral vision in my left eye.
I started to become concerned because the last time this happened they told me that I had a mini stroke. They told me that if it ever happened again to call my doctor immediately or go to the hospital immediately. So I called my doctor's office and they told me to go straight to the Emergency Room at the local hospital. I called my wife and told her to come get me and take me to the hospital because that was what the doctor told me. I explained what was going on and she said that she would be right there. I only live a couple miles from my work. I then went down to the office and told the secretary what was happening and told her to get a sub for my room.
I then noticed that I felt a little weak on my left side. My wife took me to the closest hospital and when we went into the ER I explained that my doctor told me to come there. They then took me back to triage. While there my wife told the guy working on me about my vision and left side weakness. He said that means that you may be having a stroke and rushed me straight back to a room. Within 5 minutes or so I was surrounded by people poking and prodding me. They took blood, started an IV, and sent me off for a CT Scan. After a short while a nurse and a doctor come into my room and told me that they wanted to give me a super clot busting drug called tPA. They explained that people had had a full recovery from a stroke when the tPA was administered within a 3 hour window.
They then explained the possible adverse side effects, internal bleeding, and that I would have to be admitted and monitored in the ICU. They asked my wife and me if we wanted them to administer the tPA. I had my wife call my sister who works as a manager in a cardiovascular unit at another hospital. My sister said that if it was her husband she would have him take it. So we told the doctors to go ahead with the tPA.
I spent a total of 5 days in the hospital, and had to have some PT, OT, and Speech Therapy at home. Luckily I have made a full recovery and after being off for a month and a half returned to work. I now add a 325mg aspirin to my daily vitamin regimen.
I was diagnosed as having had a mild stroke. I now have an implantable heart monitor in my chest to find out if my stroke was possibly caused by A-fib. If they find that I have A-fib then they will decide what else needs to be done. But for now life goes on as usual thanks in part to my getting to the hospital quickly and in part to the tPA.