Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Original Letter

Here is the update that my dad sent out on Friday night to our family.

This is an update from her husband. I have been with her since the ER, and this has been tough for her.  Basically the staff at Regions has been wonderful.  She has had many doctors looking into this.  What they’ve concluded so far is that she has had a stroke caused by a clot.  They know what area of the brain the stroke permanently damaged.  They still have not determined where the clot came from.  For the most part her arteries are clear .  There are some tiny traces of plaque, but none that would be considered a problem. They analyzed the heart suspecting she may have also had a heart attack , but found no evidence that had happened.  Yes they have found a hole in her heart, but nearly 20% of humans have that condition. They have considered it as a possible factor, but they are not putting a lot of emphasis on that.  No one knows for sure when the stroke started to occur.  The onset of the pain was Thursday morning the 23rd  – it came on fast and was very intense, but had the characteristics of migraines she’s had in the past( some loss of vision, nausea, aches in the neck, etc.)  She was down in spirits because this happened on one of her 4 day “scrapbook vacations”. She went to her chiropractor for some adjustments, which provided some relief but not for long.  The remark she made to me was that she’s had migraines this intense, but this one was different because it was not going away.  On her last visit to the chiropractor, she was told everything was in alignment.  She actually called the chiropractor on Friday Oct 1st  to let him know she had a stroke.  The chiropractor said he knew something was up, but regretted he did not push her to get in to a specialist. She also tried her best weapon against migraines – a deep tissue massage from our old neighbor Leroy.  This was ineffective, and made her and I realize this was very different from her normal migraines. She sought the advice of a general doctor because if it was something bigger , she would need a referral from him to see a specialist.  She had told me that she was being given medicine from an IV, but this did nothing- the pain was still intense.  He prescribed 2 other medicines to try.  If she had no relief in 24-48 hours, then it would be time for an MRI. That first night of taking the medicine caused the pain to dramatically increase.  I rubbed her neck and shoulder areas before I left for work.  It provided some, but little relief. We decided to call the doctor ASAP.  Her MRI was scheduled for Friday, but an opening occurred on Thursday afternoon. From that they saw there was evidence of a clot. They had determined that it was not a “fresh” clot (4-6hrs old) because there wouldn’t be evidence on the MRI.  Rather they determined it was an “older “ one that had caused the problem. From what we gathered from the doctors was they really didn’t know when it happened, or how long this had been going on.  We were in the ER for 9 hours because of the unavailability of a room for her. By now she had a lot of tests done, and the neurologists would see the results in the morning.  She had been in and out of the room so many times on Friday that the neurologist was having a hard time pinning her down.  He was successful on the 3rd try.  He was very detailed on his diagnosis. He stated there were a few possibilities.  It could have been caused by the medicine used for hormone replacement therapy. It could have been caused  by the chiropractor adjusting the neck- he said when you “pop” the vertebrae there is a chance some deposits may break away and cause a clot.  It could have been caused by the hole in her heart. All he said was that he could not determine where the clot formed, but would try to do the best he could to eliminate these variables in order to prevent their chance of causing a future clot.  He was optimist about her recovery because of her age.  Why they are being thorough with Stephanie is because she shouldn’t be having a clot at her age (the normal causes aren’t present).  She has been tough through all of this but she is fearful about the visual damage.  There is a small amount of bleeding near the area `that has been damaged, but that could be caused by the brain trying to repair the damage, meaning it may be trying to finding a new route t6o correct the visual problems- it has been determined it is not anything dangerous so far, but tests results won’t be in for another week.  One thing to note is that there IS some memory problems.  For example, she has been slow in answering questions that require accessing memory.  For the most part she gets the right answer , it just takes her a little longer than normal to figure it.The occupational therapist has given her some tests and has determined there is no damage to the motor functions (movement, balance, coordination, muscles, etc.) – that was an extremely good thing. As far as the memory and eyesight, she is confident she will recover anything lost but if not , they have many methods to help the brain use different routes to get things back to normal.  It is not a 100% guarantee, but she is optimistic.  The brain/ body has many ways to repair damage.  My father had a stroke a couple of years ago with the same results and even at 83 he got everything back in 2 weeks, so we are cautiously optimistic, but realize it isn’tgoing to be an instant fix. It may take some hard work. What she has asked me and a few others to do is to give her space emotionally.  She doesn’t like it when a doctor/ nurse comes in and there is a lot of people in the room.  She feels she needs answers to her questions, because only she has been talking to all the doctors.  She is having a very hard time dealing with this in such a short time. She is scared that her eyesight isn’t coming back. I’m not saying this to be mean, it is just she has trouble processing information if there are a lot of people in the room asking questions, looking at her as if something is wrong, or taking her or the doctors words the wrong way.  What we take for granted is that we have no problem whizzing through questions and answers.  Stephanie  needs time to get things processed, not because of the stroke , but just to figure out what she needs to do /accept.  As for me , I interject something she may be forgetting to tell the doctor, but only after she has gotten answer.  So if you are in the room when the doctor comes in,ask her if she wants you to leave while she talks to the doctor, then she’ll tell people what he told her, rather than have a lot of people tell what they think they heard.  Like I said before, I’m not trying to be mean , its just that Stephanie needs time to deal with this in her own way.  Right now she is only thinking what to do if she doesn’t recover.  She’s worried about,how to get Danny to school, or if she will be able to go to work or do her job, so please if you want to help, keep saying positive things to her or maybe offer to help her around the house with things she won’t be able to do.  She is tough and I know she’ll get through this but its going to take time.  Love, Paul

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.