Archive for January, 2006

11/13/2005 My stroke

I was a 34 year old happily married woman who was a non-smoker, long distance runner with low blood pressure who had a stroke November 13, 2005.

I had been experiencing severe headaches that I just assumed were migraines for about 2 weeks. Then on a Friday afternoon (November 11th), I had trouble walking with my left leg, just for a couple of steps along with a wicked headache. I decided to call the doctor and made an appointment for 3:15 that afternoon. I just thought I was stressed out and my body decided to freak a little. The doctor wished there was a place to get an MRI that late in the day but couldn’t so I got a CT scan instead – they reported it as normal so I went home.

At 7 am on Sunday, Nov 13th, I was at the starting line with my husband, Mr. Bob, at our first 10k race. My husband was a little irritated with me because I was “acting weird” and wouldn’t warm up with him and I couldn’t give him an answer as to why. Then I collapsed – my left side just completely gave out on me about 5 minutes before the race was to start. After a minute or two, I got up and limped a little but was otherwise fine.

We walked back to the car & Mr. Bob was upset that we didn’t run. While we were driving back home (45 min drive), I told him that I didn’t feel well and needed to puke. He handed me a plastic grocery bag! He thought I was screwing around and faking it. I puked and he thought I was just making noise. Well, the bag had a hole in the bottom…When we got home, he grabbed the bag and spilled yellow bile/puke all over the inside of the car. He told me to go in and lay down and that he was going to clean the car.

I laid down & when he got back he napped with me. He woke up and went into the living room a little later. When I woke up, I tried to get out of bed to go to the bathroom but I couldn’t move my left side at all. I called for him and told him that I had to go to the bathroom. He said “So then go!” I said “I can’t” So he came in and carried me to the bathroom where I had to have a bath at that point.

We were so dumb not to call 911 right away but he wanted to save me the embarassment of having people in our house with me partially naked (thank you!). He gave me a bath and dressed me and finally called 911. The paramedics were fast and very nice and helpful. They were hesitant to diagnose it as a stroke since I am fairly young, a non-smoker, and a long distance runner so they took me to the hospital.

I went to get an MRI & an MRA and the technician asked me to slide onto the machine (on my left side!) and try as I could, it was impossible without using the gurney as leverage. Well, the gurney has wheels, you see. So it went flying & I fell to the floor! No further damage, as far as I could tell – not too far a drop…

I was in ICU for 3 days, the regular hospital for 3 days and in the rehab hospital for 2 weeks with a stroke secondary to a carotid artery dissection. The inner-most muscle of the carotid artery on the right tore and the blood clot that was healing it broke off, preventing blood flow to my brain resulting in a stroke in the right hemisphere in the basal ganglia. I was a hemiplegic with full paralysis on my left side for nearly 2 weeks. I now have full movement (from a HECK of a lot of physical therapy) but still have problems walking and some difficulty typing and of course I can’t run just yet.

About 3 weeks before the stroke, I had defended my dissertation proposal to my committee. It was approved with a few revisions and I was in the midst of collecting data – I was so nervous about finishing it up because I felt as though I thought slower. I asked if I lost IQ but no one noticed (I have them sooo fooled). I had hoped to graduate with my Ph.D. in August 2006.


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