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My Turn for a Medical Drama

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Vic Lewis VL
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Makes sense I suppose, when you think of some of those Ozzy Osborne style rockers who can still perform some functions with very little apparent remaining working brain..

Hey! Stop talking about me as if I wasn't here.......

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)

 
Posted : 29/10/2007 12:00 am
Blueline
(@blueline)
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Putting on my "Dad Hat" now.
Listen to me...get your butt to the doctor. If you have another episode, you're gonna be in BIG TROUBLE with me mister.

Seriously, please see someone. We need you here on GN.

Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.

 
Posted : 29/10/2007 2:15 pm
pearlthekat
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Thanks very much everybody for all the supportive messages. :)

I'm sure things will be OK.

what??? that happened and you didn't go the the ER?? if that happens again go to the nearest emergency room right away. they' will at least keep you under observation for a while. the sooner you get medical attention to a stroke the better your outcome can be.

i live in NYC and people go to the ER here for a hangnail....

Fair enough, but the tricky thing about that is actually getting there. :wink:

I live in the country, so there are no handy ERs just around the corner. And the problem with having some kind of brain related episode like that is that all the strategies that you would normally use to cope require the use of a working brain - and that's the organ that just failed. If that's not functioning then it's a bit like saying "If you break a leg, run straight to the nearest hospital and grab a crutch and a plaster..." :wink:

When your brain clags out it's unlike any other medical event, because your control centre has gone down - a Hard Drive crash if you like. I couldn't even work out how to turn an amp off - a single simple switch - and I couldn't read. So, jumping in the car and driving somewhere was out of the question. Not just because I couldn't see properly, but I wouldn't have been able to drive. I couldn't operate a telephone either - all those buttons and numbers to press. :?

So all the things that you could normally do or decide easily are impossible. Not only has your decision making equipment failed, you now no longer have any idea that such decisions are either possible or even necessary. It's a bit like you're lying at the bottom of a collapsed mineshaft with little or no light. Just breathing is enough to be getting on with for a while...

And as it all slowly returns (if it does of course) then you eventually become aware that you're "Recovering". So your body is telling you that the immediacy of the danger is lessening. This may still be a bad judgment call, but it's the best you can do at the time.

I've been in ERs and I'm not a big fan. You sit for hours with all the fight victims and general maimed and hope to get a good call from an overworked team under pressure. Priority goes to those with something wrong NOW, rather than somebody who may have had a dangerous episode but who can now walk and talk and pass all the immediate tests.

Once I had recovered enough to be able to think a bit, I did get on the phone (and the internet) and gather information and advice, and then get some physical help. I'm reasonably happy that I'm going down the right path now, but at my age you know that all you can do is your best at the time, and that (like many friends and family before me) one day you won't make it. So I've learned to accept that, and just give life my best shot while I still have it. :)

Cheers,

Chris
there is something called "911." you pick up the phone and dial it. they will get you to the ER. and you won't be one of the people who have to wait when you have those kinds of symptoms. you will get taken first. take my word for it. if it was a TIA it makes a stoke more likely to happen. sorry if i sound a little annoyed but i work in hospitals and see strokes andthings all the time. some are bad, some not so bad. but you have to get to the ER.

 
Posted : 29/10/2007 9:48 pm
Chris C
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there is something called "911." you pick up the phone and dial it. they will get you to the ER. and you won't be one of the people who have to wait when you have those kinds of symptoms. you will get taken first. take my word for it. if it was a TIA it makes a stoke more likely to happen. sorry if i sound a little annoyed but i work in hospitals and see strokes andthings all the time. some are bad, some not so bad. but you have to get to the ER.

Hi,

Thanks for your concern and suggestions. I understand what you're saying. But I live in Australia - in the countryside. We do have something similar - different number but same general idea. But it's not as quick to get the assistance out in the country.

But as I said above, I was unable to operate a telephone anyway. It doesn't matter how simple the number, if you can't operate the phone and more importantly if you brain has shut down to the degree that you can't make the decision to take such action, then it makes no difference if the service is there or not. If I'd been in the house and my wife had the episode I would have had her in the car and been driving within minutes. I have in fact done this for my son when he had his first epileptic seizure. We were on the road within moments. It's a long drive from here and he was still fitting when we arrived, but they were able to stop it. I now carry my own kit to stop the seizures.

Honestly, I'm not that casual. :wink: But the ideal outcome isn't always possible. I passed various simple tests as I was recovering, and when I saw the doctor later. Today I'm off for the scans and further tests. I already had a battery of blood tests a couple of weeks ago, so we already have some useful data. I trust my doctor, and if he thought it was necessary he would have sent me straight to hospital when I saw him. He did that with my son when we suspected that he had appendicitis. Despite the fact that my son can't speak properly and has limited understanding of social interactions, our doctor made an accurate diagnosis and sent us straight to the ER. We got there first thing in the morning and waited all day while they slowly worked through the procedures to confirm his diagnosis. It was agonisingly slow, but there are only so many machines, operating theatres and doctors to go round, and plenty of other people needing fast attention. He was finally operated on that evening - by which time it had burst. We spent 9 days in hospital with him. That was the longest day of my life - and probably the worst week too.

Cheers,

Chris

 
Posted : 29/10/2007 10:20 pm
Nuno
 Nuno
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if you can't operate the phone and more importantly if you brain has shut down to the degree that you can't make the decision to take such action
It must be a very hard situation. I can not imagine it. Did you think on call by phone? I mean, you said you were not able to read and the letters are numbers were nonsense signals for you. I guess you were not able to understand the phone numbers neither. But are you able to think on the action? I think it is a metalevel, the upper for the decision making, the reasoning, and the other for executing the actions (I guess there will be a "simple" motoric level, too).

A colleague had an ictus some years ago. His problem now is basically motoric. He is recovering his mobility. Sometimes we talk about his disease and he explains to me some aspects of it. The brain is amazing.

 
Posted : 29/10/2007 10:48 pm
Chris C
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It must be a very hard situation. I can not imagine it. Did you think on call by phone? I mean, you said you were not able to read and the letters are numbers were nonsense signals for you. I guess you were not able to understand the phone numbers neither. But are you able to think on the action? .

Hi Nuno,

It's weird one that. At that level you do only basic stuff. I might - no I WILL, when I've typed this - write out a card and put it by the phone with the number to dial in large letters. It might help, but the action of typing it all up might entrench it a bit too. Plus I could do some practice runs.

More Story:

Pearlthekat and Smokindog make good points. It would have been good to get more medical attention. But, as I said, the decision making equipment had failed, so that didn't happen. It's interesting in a way to look back on what DID happen though.

1. Brain failed, for whatever reason. Thoughts are on the level of “what's going on here?.....can't work this out….”. You don't think “Gee, I wonder if I'm having a stroke?” as that kind of thought is not currently possible. You default back to very basic or familiar stuff (like Ric's friend who could recall details of his mechanical work). I couldn't operate a simple on/off switch let alone a telephone or a car.

2. Partial recovery – a couple of hours later. I still haven't got all my vision back, but I've now figured out the on/off switch and the phone. If what I read is correct, the drug tpa can help if applied quickly – in the first 1 to 2 hours, and what it does is stop the clotting that causes a full blown stroke. By now I'm past that point anyway. It's not a full blown stroke, and if it had been I would have been immobilised on my own and unable to get that assistance anyway, even if it had been theoretically available.

3. This point interests me. Partly recovered, I could now have dialled for an ambulance. Two good friends actually drive ambulances locally. (Quiz question: What job can an excellent classical guitarist with a music degree from the Conservatorium get? Answer: Ambulance driver… ). It's a privately owned service so you have to be a member (I'm not) or pay for the trip (which I could afford). It would actually have been quicker and simpler to ring a friend and get somebody to drive me to the nearest town with an ER. Several have offered since, but any friend or neighbour would have done it. It would have taken at least an hour though, from the time I could ring to get to the hospital.

But I didn't then ring. My main job is now caring for my disabled son. So, in true 'animal instinct' parent fashion my thoughts were about looking after him first. He's currently at High school about 8 or 10 miles away in an Ed. Support Unit with good staff and lots of other disabled kids. If I hadn't shown up at 2 o'clock he wouldn't be turned out on the street. The staff would look after him and ring around until they got me or my wife. But I still wasn't thinking logically. So I got in the car and drove slowly to the school. Fortunately, the roads weren't busy. But I didn't have all my vision back and was somewhere around the fully drunk driver level of competence. It was an odd walk to the classroom – and on the way I could hear a school-girl's voice yelling something about God, which gave a surreal and somewhat Doomsday touch to it all – but Matt was waiting in the usual spot and I was able to collect him and drive very slowly home without mishap.

I also rang my wife at work – and left a message on her answering machine to give me a call when she had a moment. I could have called her directly on her mobile (cell phone) but I didn't want to panic her as she is over an hour's drive away, and that could have been a nightmare dash, and dangerous to her if she'd tried to rush home.

Now don't think I'm trying to sound noble here – not so. It was just instinctive to do that. Looking back I should have rung somebody nearby as soon as I was able and got taken to hospital. Next time maybe! :wink:

But the reason I didn't may be partly because this isn't the first time I've had a similar experience. About 8 years ago I was in the local town and I became aware that I'd lost function. I couldn't work out how to operate my mobile (cell) phone then either, or the banking machine, and I wasn't too sure about driving. So I sat in the car for 30 – 60 minutes until ‘normal service' came back. On that occasion I had a few tests, and saw a neurologist but nothing was found. Such episodes are not as rare as it might seem, and it was thought that perhaps a small burst blood vessel or similar relatively minor event had happened. This time it was more severe, but as I began to recover this time my thoughts were not “Geez, I might be dying here” but “Darn, I think I just had another of those weird turns”.

But it was more serious this time. It was longer and I lost more functions. So it will be interesting to see what they find this afternoon – if anything. With a bit of luck I won't need to be leaving you all my guitars in my will just yet…

Cheers,

Chris

 
Posted : 29/10/2007 11:48 pm
Ricochet
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The brain is indeed amazing!

I knew a lady for about seven years who'd had a truly devastating stroke. Couldn't move her right side or speak spontaneously. She made it clear that she wanted to be left alone to die initially. Didn't. Got transferred out of the hospital to the nursing home. She hadn't been out there too long when she regained the ability to say "I love you!" She'd look at me, smile, say that and hug me with her good arm. Sometime later she got the ability to echo a single word. For example, if I asked "Are you feeling OK?" she'd answer "OK." One day I was out there and saw her pass by dragging herself in her wheelchair with her one good foot and steering by her one good arm, singing an old hymn! She still couldn't talk any more than the above, but she was singing beautifully! The nurse told me that when they had church meetings Sunday morning, she would sing alto. Not long after that, I was out at the nursing home on a Sunday morning with an elder of the church taking Communion to a church member shut in at the nursing home, as we do. This lady saw us, understood what was going on, and scooted herself over as quickly as she could to take part! Later I checked her chart for her church membership and asked her about it. (I was going to call the minister to see her.) She shook her head "NO" when I mentioned the church listed. I named a few others, and when I got to mine she vigorously shook her head "YES!" I did some further investigating and determined that she'd grown up in my church long ago, prior to her first marriage. She turned out in fact to be a distant cousin of the first man I was out there with taking her Communion, and he hadn't recognized her or known she was there! We got her on the list and served her regularly afterward, and I was often privileged to serve her. One day I got out my Bible and started reading her the "Bread of Life Discourse" from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. She recited it as I read! Only I was reading from the New International Version, and she was reciting it from memory in the King James Version! She still couldn't say anything spontaneously other than "I love you!" So when I went back, I carried a King James Bible. I asked her what she'd like to read, and she immediately answered "Matthew!" She always said the same after that. It was clearly her favorite book. One day after 4-5 years since her stroke, my partner came into the office from visiting over there and excitedly told me that she'd pointed to the pictures of family members in her room and said the names of each! Then a month or two later, she came out with a new spontaneous statement: "I want to go to Heaven!" Then she said "Charlie's there." I determined that Charlie was her first husband. That's about as far as she got with speech recovery. The dear lady struggled with depression to the end, but always was thrilled to have the Gospel of Matthew read to her and to partake of The Lord's Supper, and would say "I want to go to Heaven," always followed by "I love you!" and a hug. One day she finally got her wish. Her funeral was the first time I met any of her family. I shared her story with them. I've always found her simple, steadfast faith very inspiring. I hope I never find myself in her situation. I don't know that I'd handle it as well. And I wish nobody else would ever end up like that, either. But it was amazing to see how, even years after the disaster, she was still regaining verbal abilities a little at a time, and how different kinds of speech were affected differently. "I love you!" came from a different part of the brain than conversational speech, as did singing and recitation of memorized text. Fascinating!

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."

 
Posted : 30/10/2007 12:18 am
Chris C
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The brain is indeed amazing!

Thanks for posting that great story Ric :)

I went for the tests yesterday (CT scan, Doppler test etc) but had to wait until this morning for the results to be faxed through to my doctor. Fortunately, all seems OK, with no stroke type damage showing up, and no signs of any impending further nasty events. So it was probably either something minor and temporary, or some form of migraine episode. Whatever it was, I'm in no hurry to repeat the dose. :shock: I'll probably reduce my time spent staring at computer screens for a while though (plus it's my busy time of year right now ) so if I'm not around much here for a while it doesn't necessarily mean I've been 'reaped'. :wink:

Thanks to everybody for all the kind support and suggestions.

Cheers,

Chris

 
Posted : 31/10/2007 5:49 am
Isabelle
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Good news then.

Take it easy Chris.

 
Posted : 31/10/2007 6:32 am
Nuno
 Nuno
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Yeah! Great news Chris!

:D :D :D

 
Posted : 31/10/2007 8:35 am
DylanBarrett
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Hey Chris

I've only had one migraine episode in my life and it was very scary...especially as I had no headache to accompany it....
It came and it went - probably a bit stress related and I work with computers so staring at radiation every day probably didn't help...

Glad you've been given the thumbs up.

Put's things in perspective - you just gotta do the things you really love while you can....

Rock on Chris

D 8)

I'm nowhere near Chicago. I've got six string, 8 fingers, two thumbs, it's dark 'cos I'm wearing sunglasses - Hit it!

 
Posted : 31/10/2007 8:41 am
rparker
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Chris, that's fantastic news. I hope you're episode free from now on. Keep us posted.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

 
Posted : 31/10/2007 10:36 am
TwistedLefty
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glad to hear Chris, still scary not to know why tho

#4491....

 
Posted : 31/10/2007 10:43 am
rparker
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glad to hear Chris, still scary not to know why tho
+1.

My wife and I had to push and push these doctors around here for my thing. Quite a frustrating battle at times.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

 
Posted : 31/10/2007 11:26 am
TRGuitar
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I just read this Chris ....... YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! I think you need a few tests and if it happens again get help as soon as you are able. I read through things quick as you freaked me out, but if you have not done so yet you need to see a doctor. There are tests that need to be done! You need a CAT Scan and Carotid Doppler Studies! ASAP!!

:lol: I just read your above post. Ooops ... maybe I need some tests?

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --

 
Posted : 02/11/2007 11:15 pm
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