Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dad and the Mini-Stroke...Part One.

The last update I have below specifically about Dad was that he was being tested for Diabetes...a lot of people immediately leaped to the conclusion that he automatically was diabetic, when they issued him the little doo-hickey (technical medical term, trust me) that checks your blood sugar levels. However, turns out, he was to spend a week using it to check his blood sugar to see if he actually had diabetes. Turns out, he doesn't. His sugar was perfect, and never once deviated into any of the danger ranges that presage diabetes. So that got ruled out. Which is good...
And then everything went to hell in a hand cart.

On August 27th, I went out to Mom and Dad's to drive them around on errands that needed to be done, Drs appt, and other things. Dad had started using the walker and put down his keys and not driving after 2 falls he had taken...he was very concerned about how weak and shaky he was. Mom stopped driving some years ago, and is on a walker and every now and then a wheel chair, due to a bad back. (He is 87 and she is 86 years old, respectively.) Since both of them needed assistance to the car, and there was only one of me, we started with Dad, with me shadowing his steps as he crossed the den heading for the door. And then something strange happened. He paused by the end of the sofa, and leaned with his right arm down as though he were pointing at something on the floor, still clinging to the walker. I stepped closer and said, "Dad, what is it?" He replied that the walker was wet, and there was something wet on the floor. He couldn't get his arm back up to put it on the walker. Stubborn man that he is, he insisted on staggering on out to the top of their wheel chair ramp and there it completely went wrong. He stopped making sense, lost the walker all together, and if I had not been standing right with him and caught him, would have hit the ground.
His speech was completely word salad garbled and he was clinging to me desperately trying to stay on his feet. I held him up, looked over his shoulder at my Mom and we both mouthed the same word at the same time - "Stroke."

I had Mom get a chair and put it right behind him, touching the back of his knees, and I slowly lowered him into the chair and held him there. And he began to clear up, become more lucid and regain control of his arm and legs. Eventually, we got him back up and assisted him with the walker back to his recliner chair....and THAT was when the fun started.
He, as far as he was concerned, was fine now, and no, we were not going to call the EMS, he didn't need to go anywhere. Oy. Mom managed to get him to take some aspirin which is advised for someone who has just had a stroke, and in a fit of inspiration, said we should call his GP, and see what the Dr or one of the Nurse Practitioner's said to do.
This took a little while...they close for an hour for lunch everyday, and we still had about 20 minutes before they re-opened. Meanwhile the argument raged on, with Dad getting furious anytime we tried to over ride him and just call Emergency Services anyway. He was fine, dammit, and didn't need to go to the hospital. Finally, Mom got through to the Nurse, who when she understood the situation, exclaimed in blue horror, "You mean you haven't already called the EMS?!? You call them right NOW!" Since Dad had agreed to do whatever they recommended, he was stuck, and Mom made the call. Dad sat and fumed. His speech was clear, though he was still rubbing things with his right hand and saying if felt weird.

The EMS arrived and the two techs went over Dad carefully. I do have to say, he was in pretty good shape, it was obvious that it was a mild whatever-it-was, and he might have slithered out of going to the hospital except for one lovely piece of irony. Mom and Dad get their mail at a UPS store, it is not delivered to their home address. So, one of the men asked Dad to recite his physical address. They haven't gotten mail at their physical address in years and I knew for a fact that Dad, since he has not had to recite it in forever, didn't remember it. He had never had to. I started laughing. He stuttered and fumed and could not recite it - but he wouldn't have been able to, even if he hadn't had a stroke. So, they looked at him and said, guess what. You get to take a ride. What Hospital do you want to go to? More fuming from Dad, but he really did let them pack him up and get him on the gurney and out the door with fairly good grace. I suspect, looking back, that Dad in his heart of hearts may have been scared, and probably glad to go, but he wasn't about to admit it.
Mom rode in the ambulance and I followed in my car, and off to the hospital we went.
At the hospital, in the ER, it turned out his cardiologist was there, on call that day, and things moved fast after that. He was admitted, for at least over night - oh, little did we know!
I tore out of there, and went back to Mom and Dad's and packed them up some clothes and over night stuff...and then I ran home to my place, and did the same for me, walked the dog and loved on everybody and went back to the hospital. You see, the staff was there to take care of Dad...but Mom, with her bad back and mobility problems was going to need help and care for her, and she wasn't an official patient. So I stayed in the room to be there for her.

In the following 24 hours, after arriving at the hospital, Dad was given a CAT scan, an MRI, an ultrasound of his carotid arteries and an echiocardiogram, that last one they did in his room and I had to hang around outside in a waiting room because they shoe horned all the equipment for it right in with us.
The upshot of this was that Dad was diagnosed as having a mini-stroke due to heart arrhythmia, on the left side of his brain, which showed swelling. And suddenly, we were not just there over night. We were going nowhere until the swelling went down. Dad was put on enough blood thinners to stun a horse, and - God BLESS the hospital staff! - they moved our crowded selves into a bigger corner room where we could spread out and Mom could have a cot to lie down on. *I* however got the door prize...the window ledge. It was just wide enough barely for me to lie down, though long enough for me to stretch out on at least. One arm or the other inevitably hung off, since I was wider through the shoulders then the ledge.

Home sweet window ledge where I slept for a week! 

All the comforts of.... 
And there, friends, we were, for a WEEK. Thus ends part one, as I have to go feed a baby kitten we inadvertently adopted last week. (There will be a blog post about the kitten too - and oodles of cute pictures which will probably be needed as an antidote by all by the time I get to the end of the tale of Dad's Mini-stroke. It really was a small one. But it has left big effects on our lives.

1 comment:

  1. Mini-strokes are certainly not something to ignore! I'm glad you were able to manoeuvre your Dad into going to the hospital! My Mom has had a few over the years. She has recovered each time but each time takes its toll in the long run.