Stroke Victim at 49

17 December 2010

Stroke at 49 part 1

Three days after Thanksgiving my husband got out of bed and stumbled into the dining room were I was reading the morning news online. I followed him into the kitchen and asked if he was alright. He told me he was dizzy and having a difficult time standing. I brought him to the couch in the living room and had him sit down. His face was slightly drooping on the left side but he was still recovering from Bell's Palsy three weeks before so it was not unusual. I asked him to raise his arms. He could not raise his left arm nor his leg. Right away I called 911. He kept insisting that he would be fine and not to call 911. 

After the paramedics carried him out one of the paramedics told me it was probably the Bell's Palsy. We arrived at the hospital three blocks from the apartment within 20 minutes of calling 911. At the hospital they did a CATscan and we were told he had had a stroke on the right side of his frontal lobe. They could not perform the angioplasty at the hospital and he would need to be transferred to another hospital across town. We waited over an hour and a half for the transport to the new hospital and another 45 minutes for the neurosurgeon to speak with me about the surgery. The angioplasty is where they went in through an artery on the right side of his groin and insert a balloon tipped catheter that traveled up to the frontal lobe of his brain to dislodge the clot. After waiting nervously for an hour and a half, the surgeon came and told me the results of the surgery. They were able to remove sixty percent of the clot. The clot had broken off into three clots. The first clot had completely blocked the main artery. That was removed. The main artery then branches out into two smaller blood vessels. The larger of the two was also completely blocked and the clot was removed. The smaller vessel was also completely blocked but they were unable to remove the clot.

The area of the brain that was affected was his balance and coordination. They were not sure what lasting affect the stroke would have until it settled. As the stroke settled there was slight hemorrhaging.  The night after the surgery he was able to lift his arm, leg, and squeeze with his hand. As the stroke settled and the hemorrhaging stopped he lost all movement in his face, shoulder, arm, wrist, hand, fingers, ankle, foot and toes. It has now been just less than two weeks in rehab, still as an in-patient in the hospital, and we are worried sick. They are working like mad to get him to the point where he can climb the three flights to our apartment once he is released on the 29th of December. 

My husband has always been a relatively healthy person. He eats right for the most part and yet this stroke hit out of the blue. I have no idea what the next few weeks will bring. What I do know is that there is no Christmas at my house this year. Our son put the tree up himself and decorated it. He has been doing all of the laundry, dishes, taking care of the cats and really stepping up. It breaks my heart that I cannot give him a Christmas. I have not had the time to shop. Nor the money. My days are spent taking him to school at 6:30 am and spending the day at the hospital. I return for enough time to eat, talk to the boy for an hour or so and get up to do it all over again. I have to say, on a scale of 1 to 10 of suckiness, this is the worst Christmas I have ever had. And those include my first 15 years of life when I was not allowed to celebrate holidays.

I think the saddest thing is, no one has come to the hospital to see him. My aunt who is recovering from cancer wanted to come but I cannot let her take the risk of the Chicago winter after she has just finished with radiation and chemotherapy. Her immune system is not strong enough. One of my uncles said he was going to stop by but he has been sick. The only person who has really been here for me has been my BFF. She is more of a sister to me. She has been wonderful! She is even making Christmas Eve dinner and bringing it to the hospital so we can do what we always do for Christmas Eve, spend it together. I really don't know what I would have done without her help these past few weeks.