But God has a way of slowing things down.
Last Monday night we were all enjoying a quiet evening at home together. My hubby and all the boys were sitting on the couch watching TV and I was catching up on email after a busy day running hither and yon. My hubby began complaining of a loud buzzing noise - like the sound of a wind-up toy. He asked the boys to knock it off, but they weren't playing with anything like that. We realized that he had a loud buzzing noise just in his left ear.
We didn't think much of it that night as he's been sick for the last six weeks first with a head cold, than bronchitis, than the norovirus (or whatever that 12-hour nasty thing was called) and he still had a lingering cough. However, things changed in a blink Tuesday morning.
My hubby woke up and had a mild headache (he has migraines from time to time) so he decided to take some ibuprofen and sleep a bit more. When he woke up later in the morning he called me in to the bedroom to tell me he was extremely dizzy and just didn't feel right. In fact, when he tried to stand up, he fell back to the bed. He then told me he had numbness and tingling all down the left-side of his body.
I was thinking it might be an inner ear issue. I, myself, had a similar problem when I was in college. However, the numbness and tingling threw me for a loop so I called my sister for a "medical consult." She's worked as an ER nurse for the last 20 years and I trust her explicitly with questions like this. She felt it would be best to go have things checked out at the ER so off we went.
In the ER, they too felt it was an inner ear issue and gave him meds for his headache and the dizziness. He also had some nausea (and soon some vomiting) so he got some drugs for that as well. To be safe, they did a CAT scan which came back clear. I remember clearly when the PA came in and told us that he had not had a stroke. We thought we'd soon be released to go home. Or at least that was my thought until I realized that the PA only thought the numbness and tingling was in his head region. We explained that it was his entire left side. After she consulted with the neurologist, we were soon admitted to the floor for "observation" and the plan to do a MRI in the morning.
Hubby doesn't remember a lot of Tuesday or Tuesday night simply because he had some "good drugs" on board for his headache and nausea/vomiting. He slept really well that night.
Wednesday morning I arrived and they soon took him down for an MRI. I have to confess, the nurse and I had a bit of fun with the poor man. During his stay, they had him on telemetry to monitor his heart. This means he had to wear those nice little stickers on his chest with the unit hooked to it. In preparation for the MRI, those stickers had to be removed. I will say that the nurse and I had way too much fun doing that to the poor guy. He was a great sport though.
And then - in a blink of an eye - we heard the diagnosis we never thought we'd hear for a 39-year-old man. My hubby had had a minor stroke. The MRI showed that he had four small blood clots in the posterior carotid arteries - the ones that go up the back of the neck. Three were very, very, very tiny, but one was about half the size of my pinky fingertip. Needless to say, it was shocking to think he had had a stroke Monday night.
The PA who took care of him in the hospital was fantastic. She came directly in to us as soon as she had the diagnosis and explained it all to us without talking down to us. She explained about all the tests he would be having and they would be doing them as soon as possible. She was right. Within 15 minutes of her leaving the room, he was off to have another scan (which meant the newly replaced telemetry stickers had to be removed for the second time that morning!), a lot of blood work drawn, an EKG (another set of stickers - seriously I'm not making it up!), and finally an echocardiogram.
The medical staff did not know what caused him to throw the clots so they wanted to check his blood clotting (we're still waiting for those results), his blood flow (the MRA with contrast scan that was done) and his heart (EKG and echo). To date, all of his results have come back negative. So we still do not have a definitive reason for the stroke.
However, for the last 10 years my dear hubby has had borderline high blood pressure and he has sweet talked his way out of many a doctor visit without getting medication for it. This could have been a contributing factor.
He was in the hospital from Tuesday until Friday morning. The extended stay really had a lot to do with his blood pressure. It was simply too high for him to be released. Until they could be sure the meds they had put him on were working, he needed to stay. Added to that, it wasn't until Thursday that the dizziness stopped so he was still a bit unsteady on his feet.
Needless to say, this has been a wake up call for both of us. He is doing very well and is home. He still has some left-sided numbness and tingling (the ride side of the brain controls the left side of the body which is why the clots on the right are affecting his left side) and the buzzing/ringing in his ear. However, that all seems to be getting better which is great.
We are very thankful it wasn't worse. He never lost motor control, muscle control, or speech. It was, however, a cerbrovascular accident (CVA) otherwise known as a stroke. He left the hospital on four meds (two for his blood pressure, one for his cholesterol, and a high dose aspirin). He is taking it easy this week - no driving and no more than half a day of work. He's only planning to go in to the office two days but he is putting in some hours at home. He's taking the week to recover and rest. We realize that even though it was minor it was still a stroke. We are thankful for God's providence in caring for him though and we are using it to make some changes in our lives.