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Rough Collie's husband had another stroke

Jean in Newcastle

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Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts!


This morning the nurse said that DH is "doing well", and that I couldn't visit him during the first set of visiting hours because he was going for an MRI. So, we will visit him at 4 p.m. There are no phones allowed in ICU; they don't want him to talk on the phone, they want him to recover. I called the nurse a couple of times to leave messages that were important, so DH wouldn't worry.

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Good news update! 


The doctor gave DH the clot-busting stroke drug in the ER last night (tPA). Today's MRI showed that he has no brain damage at all from this stroke. He has been tested all day and shows no signs of having had a stroke. The nurse said the drug reverses stroke damage, but couldn't explain how. I get how it prevents further damage by opening up the blood flow to the brain. I don't get how the damage already done by a current stroke is reversed. http://www.webmd.com/stroke/news/20140313/every-minute-matters-with-clot-busting-stroke-drug-study


So DH has a CAT scan at 4 a.m., and if it is clear, he will come home tomorrow! He is "wobbly" when he stands or walks, the nurse says, but I think maybe they are seeing how DH has been since the strokes he had in 2011. He has problems with balance and tripping, and walks *extremely* slowly. They are worried about falls and put an alarm on his bed because he keeps trying to get out of bed when a nurse is not present. He's pretty determined not to have a nurse help him do anything, but the alarm has put the kibosh on that! Otherwise, except for telling the nurses that he has the right to refuse treatments, he has cooperated with everything else (MRI, this thing on his legs that keeps the blood flowing so he won't develop a clot there, the blood pressure cuff that automatically inflates -- all this is drives him nuts.)


DH said that last night his symptoms were getting steadily worse until they gave him the tPA about 2 hours after he'd had the stroke. He was failing all their tests (raise arm, make a fist, grip tests, raise his leg, bring his finger to his nose, etc.).  It took an hour for the ambulance to get him to the hospital counting from the time I called 911. And then an hour at the hospital getting checked out, IV put in, and having x-rays and CAT scans before they gave him the tPA.


He told me to be at the hospital at 4 a.m. to bring him home after the CAT Scan. He was disappointed to find out it will take longer than that to discharge him and it will be, at very earliest, after breakfast. He's had next to no sleep -- they check his vital signs every 15 minutes in the ICU -- and said the only time he slept was when he was getting the MRI.


Thank you all very much for your prayers, positive thoughts, and encouragement.  And thank you, Jean, for posting about this. During times like this, knowing Boardies are pulling for me and mine gives me peace of mind.

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That is so wonderful.  Will they put him on blood thinners?


He is already on Plavix. No one has mentioned changing his prescription. He has to see our regular doctor within a week and a neurologist within four weeks.


He is home now, and he says he feels fine. He is very grateful for all of your prayers and encouragement, as am I.

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One more update. Yesterday, after 5 years (since the other strokes) of being unable to write legibly, DH signed for something and astonished to see that his former signature has returned. He had beautiful, legible handwriting that anyone could read before he started having strokes. For 5 years, no one, including him, has been able to read his handwriting -- not one word, no matter how painstakingly he wrote.


I noticed over the last day that he isn't using his hands to move his legs into and out of the car. Not sure yet whether that will be true with our car, which is a much lower to the ground, more compact car than he has been in. Our car's week-old brand new front axle broke when I was on my way to the hospital, so it is in the shop, getting a new axle at  no cost to us. The dealer originally put in an axle for the wrong make/model of car because for some reason that one fit and they didn't notice that their supplier sent them the wrong one. Yesterday, the new one didn't fit, and that's how they discovered they were ordering the correct axle but receiving the wrong one.


He keeps saying he feels great physically, compared to how he has felt for the last 5 years, especially in the last few months.


We figure that, since the tPA can't fix brain damage from past strokes, that he had at least one small blood clot in his brain that prevented him from being able to write, and the tPA eradicated that.


What we can't figure out, since most of the brain damage occurred with stroke #4, and we got him to the hospital quickly, is why he didn't get tPA at our local hospital. They have it there. Also, during the period he had the 4 strokes (April through July 2011), the neurologist never put him on any blood thinning drugs.  This is not a lawsuit waiting to happen because the statute of limitations has passed.  But I do hope that DH asks these questions and gets answers. Physicians should know when they've made a mistake and what those consequences are for the patient, whether or not a lawsuit is involved.


DH is definitely going to a different neurologist in the future.


Over the next few days, I am going to try to get him to test his note-taking skills and try other skills, like cutting his own food. I recently bought very sharp steak knives so he has been able to cut up his own food without my help, but it isn't a very elegant process and it takes a long time.  In the hospital, he cut up spaghetti with a spoon and knife because he couldn't get a fork to cooperate. (My useless steak knife collection has been donated to Goodwill; it took awhile to find knives that were useful.)


I'm pretty excited about this. Being able to get in and out of our car easily, and being able to write, and to cut food easily will make a difference in his quality of life. The little limitations irritate him, and not being able to take notes is a real pain in the you know what. Luckily, he has always been able to remember numbers, so when he has to take down a phone number, he can remember it and someone else can write it down for him.


Almost forgot -- in the hospital, before taking the tPA, he failed a swallow test. He always starts choking and coughing while eating and drinking. But after he took the tPA, when in ICU, he did not choke or cough at all. He hasn't done that since he's been home either. So maybe that problem is over, too. It's been really awful for him since the choking and coughing lasts 2-5 minutes, and his doctors have told him for 5 years that it is due to the strokes and there is nothing that can be done about it. It can be a dangerous situation because a few times I've had to do the Heimlich maneuver.


All this looks promising. If he can do just one thing that he couldn't do before, that would be enough for him because it would make his daily life easier.





Edited by RoughCollie
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That all sounds so encouraging, Rough Collie (well, except for the car and the past health events/responses, but everything happening health-wise NOW sounds good)!  May it all continue well!  Perhaps this event will be a blessing in disguise?  You still have our prayers.

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