Lindsay is our 24-year-old daughter. She had moved away from home and was trying to make it on her own. She soon found out that she couldn't do it without "mom". She moved home around Christmas and I gave her 2 weeks to get a job. She kept complaining about feeling bad but we thought it was just an excuse. My husband's best friend passed away that day and I had just returned from the hospital from having an endarterectomy (clearing a stenosis from my right carotid artery so I wouldn't have a stroke) and could not drive. It was a Sunday and she complained of the usual flu like symptoms. She had a headache, muscle ache but no fever. After deciding that she could wait until Monday to go to the doctor, she fell asleep. (Her sister had taken her to the ER 2 weeks before and the doctor sent her home with a prescription for Paxil, telling my daughter she had made herself sick).
When my husband came in we tried to awaken Lindsay so she could take a bath. She was totally unresponsive so I dialed 911. The EMT took one look at her pupils and told me I had no choice of hospitals because he had just called a neurosurgeon to meet us at the hospital. You could not distinguish the pupil from her iris.
When my husband and I arrived we were met by one of the chaplains from the hospital. They took us in a little room where you NEVER want to go. We were then told it was not trauma but they didn't know what. Finally she was left in ICU before we got any kind of report. She had had 3 strokes. One about the size of a pinto bean to her brain stem (controls basic body functions; respiratory system, blood pressure, and heartbeat) and one on either side of the cerebellum -which controls movement, posture and balance, a bleed to the occipital lobe which accounts for her seeing double vision. She also has lesions all around her brain. No doctor there expected her to make it through the night.
Finally after spending a week in ICU she started pulling on her respirator tube. She was diagnosed with "endocarditis", an infection that affects the inner part of the heart. Pieces of these detached from her heart and went to her brain. We were sent to the "heart floor" at the end of the week but found out later that she was expected to die from pneumonia due to silent aspiration. Finally they put in a NG tube to feed her through the nose, which she pulled out twice. They they put in a feeding tube through her stomach and she was fed that way from weeks. She weighed a mere 93 lbs. The doctors told us that she would not be much more than she was now.....in a coma. They all advised institutionalizing her. The neurologist told us she would hallucinate. A psychiatrist came by, Lindsay dropped the buzz word, "depression" and "hallucinations" and off they sent her to the Adult Psychiatric Unit without telling us where she was going. The only thing missing was Jack Nicholson from One flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. One nurse kept Lindsay in the hall, in her bed for the two nights she was there. She asked me "How in the world did this child wind up in here?" The psychiatrist had no idea at the time that Lindsay had had a stroke. Finally after almost having a nervous breakdown, she was moved to the rehabilitation floor. Lindsay had developed sepsis and was on 4 of the strongest antibiotics there are. The infectious disease doctor could not culture anything to show if it was viral, bacterial or fungal.
I had gone home to try to get some sleep on February 10 and around ten that morning the phone rang. It was my husband wanting to know if I wanted to talk to someone. Lindsay had awakened from her coma!!!! When she took the phone and said, "Hey Mama", those were the sweetest words I have ever heard. I and many of our friends raced to the hospital to see her. She had been in a coma for almost four weeks. The longer one is in a coma, the less chance they have at full recuperation. I am a biology teacher but for some reason, God kept me off the internet for those weeks.
We came home on March 12, 2011. Lindsay started rehab the very next week. She went from 9-3 daily for about 4 months. She could only use a wheelchair at the time. The infection had eaten away her aortic heart valve so she had to have an artificial one put in on August 11, 2011. The depression after the heart surgery was awful! It was the worst experience for both of us. If you can make it through that, you can make it through anything!
After that surgery, she went to an opthamologist to see if she could correct Lindsay's double vision. Only one muscle in her left eye works so she's already had 4 surgeries and will probably need one or two more. In between each surgery she still attended rehab. She moved to a rehab in Baton Rouge then moved to one at the neuromedical center in Baton Rouge. She is now back at the Baton Rouge Rehab mostly for the equipment.
We have researched hyperbaric chamber treatment and it makes sense.