Strokes: It's not just for the elderly. It happened to me.
The last thing I ever thought of as a nurse, was that I was having a stroke. I was simply dizzy. That's it. If I didn't call the paramedics, I never would have known I was having a stroke. Throw caution to the wind and make that call. It'll save your life
A stroke is an illness that reminds you of the elderly. You rarely hear of young people stroking out. That was until it happened to me.
As a nurse I have lost count of the stroke victims I have tended to. Paralysis, lost of speak and bodily functions are all part of the typical stroke victim's agenda. Mine were very different.
I started to experience dizziness and I would constantly bump into furniture and walls.
I woke up on a Friday and could not lay flat in my bed. I felt like I was drunk. (I never drink so that wasn't an issue) I was all alone in the house so I called my husband at work and told him I was calling the paramedics. He agreed with me.
They took me to the hospital and did every test under the sun. A chest x-ray, A Cat Scan, an MRA to check the arteries in my neck and an MRI, not to mention tons of blood work. My blood work was normal.
A sweet, wonderful doctor came up to me on the gurney and told me I had 4 strokes. I was all alone when I got the news. 4 strokes! That can't be! What am I going to tell my husband! I knew he would flip out, which he did. He was a basket case. I was the strong one. I never cried. I still haven't cried.
The neurologist told me that I had 3 old strokes from 2-3 years ago. And the new one that put me in the hospital. He hooked me up to a cardiac monitor and placed me in the telemetry ward. I was so restless there that I couldn't stop walking the floors. As I passed rooms I saw stroke patients on ventilators, unable to walk, being shipped to nursing homes. I kept thinking that could very well have been me.
My doctor asked me the common stroke questions: Are you overweight? No, I weigh 105 lbs. How's your diet? I eat a Mediterranean diet. No meat. I eat small meals all day. (He liked that) Do you smoke? Yes, I do. (Bad answer. Smoking decreases your blood vessels. Nicotine patch here I come!) How's your blood pressure? Totally out of wack. I take my blood pressure in the morning, but by night it's high again.)
I was given new meds twice a day and a strong cholesterol med to take at bedtime, along with a baby asprin. I have to take my blood pressure twice a day. And no I have not been discharged. All my doctors want me in the best shape possible before I am free from their clutches.
So the bottom line? Since my heart, blood and arteries from the neck down are in prime condition the strokes were caused by a spike in my blood pressure. And stress. I have had a ton of stress the past 2 years. Stress and blood pressure are deadly. I have definitely learned my lesson. No more stress that I can avoid.
My left side of my brain was damaged, which means my right side is affected. I do see deficits in my swallowing, my vision goes in and out, and my right foot tends to occassionaly go in. But my drawing is still intact, playing my guitar seems to be okay and I have the same strength in both my arms and legs. So yes, I am blessed. My life could have been so much worse!
Thank you guys, for all your prayers which are helping me get through this. I can't thank you enough. Life is short and when you are given a second chance you must embrace it. Which is exactly what I plan on doing!