Friday, August 28, 2020

A Stroke of Luck

On Tuesday, 8/25 @ 2:15, Jill was scheduled to have a lumbar ablation.  It was the second in a series of shots to deal with back pain. The first was two weeks ago.

At about 12:00 she was getting nauseous and had a migraine, neither of which were alarming, because  she gets migraines and she wasn't allowed to eat 8 hours prior to the procedure and nothing to drink for 4 hours prior. Because she doesn't get up until between 9 and 10 and her last food was about 5 pm the previous day. All she had in her was a cup of coffee. So we attributed the nauseousness to that not sitting well. 

As time got closer to the procedure she began to get the dry heaves.  At this point it was about 12:20 and I wanted to call the doctor and let him know.  She wouldn't let me call.  By 1:15 she was not improving. I took her temperature and blood pressure.  There was no fever, but her blood pressure was 212/113. I over rode her objection and called.

On the call I mentioned the migraine and nausea, but neglected to mention the blood pressure. The nurse spoke to the Dr. and said, they could give her something for the nausea and to give her a little juice or something to get a bit of sugar in her. She has a sip or two of water and a sip of Coke which did nothing to settle the stomach. 

At 1:35 we headed out the office.  During the ride she got worse, continued with dry heaves, and became disoriented. There were a few times she said things and got words wrong. I think the word that was in her mind came out of her mouth as something entirely different.

As soon as we got into the office I asked the nurse to have the doctor check her out right away, because I was concerned something else was wrong. While there were no physical/classical signs of stroke, that was my concern. The doctor suggested taking her to the ER, which I did.

The doctor called ahead and when I arrived at the ER, they were waiting and took us right back into a room where the neurologist was already waiting via video conference. While the nurses were attaching wires, probes, and cannulas, The doctor began questioning her; name, age, where she was, and other similar question. They showed her pictures of common objects to identify.  Most objects were recognized, but others like a glove and a key, she wasn't able to name. There was a scene with a few people in it and she wasn't able to describe what was happening in the scene.

Thankfully, the CT scan didn't show any bleeding.  That ruled out bleeding stroke.  It could still be a TIA or an Ischemic Stroke.  Once the tests were done, the doctor said what was happening could possibly be a result of the migraine, but knowing Jill and her her history, I told the doctor I knew more than likely, the migraine and disorientation was the result of a TIA or Stroke.

Since we got to the ER within 3 hours of the event, Jill could be given clot busting medication. He explained the treatment and the associated risks. They administered the drugs and you could almost see the confusion leaving her mind.  

They moved her to the ICU for 24-48 hours to watch for any change or adverse affects of the treatment. By the time she was settled into ICU, it was 6:30 and past visiting hours. I headed home.  We spoke on the phone later and there were no signs of any speech or memory problems, except there is no memory of the vomiting, dry heaves, the trip to the first Dr. and the time in the emergency room.

They only allow one visitor a day for 2 hours. So we spoke on the phone a few times during the day and I visited during the late afternoon. She was in good spirits and was her old self.  She made sure I brought her makeup kit something to wear besides the hospital gown. She wanted a shower and she wanted to go home, but that was not to be.  Her blood pressure was still too high and they had more monitoring to do, including an MRI that would be performed the next day. 

That brings us to Thursday. The MRI was scheduled for the morning, but I visited from 12-2 and she still didn't have it, but they decided she was captive for another day, because her blood pressure is still too high. It's bounce around the 188/90 level.  They put her on a cardiac diet and are trying to bring it down.  It's 5:00 now and I just got off the phone with her and still no MRI.  I suspect they may hold off until tomorrow morning.

It is now 3:00 PM on Friday and Jill is home.  They took the MRI this morning and it was clear. We are home and she is in good spirits with no apparent impairment.  She has a follow up with her primary care physician next week and a neurologist in about 3 weeks.

Fate, coincidence, or divine intervention, she was very lucky. As I wrote, she was on the way to another doctor when things really started going south. What is lucky is that the appointment we were going to had been changed twice. If it had been the original time, she would have had the stroke either during or right after the procedure. If it had been the second date, she would have had the stroke the day after the ablation. As turned out, it was a stroke of luck.