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Well,  I didn't actually have a stroke, it was TIA (Transient ischemic attack). It is important to you because TIAs are very often the first warning of a stroke to come.  Jump with me and I will tell you how my world turned upside down 6AM Monday morning and why having a great Doctor and great insurance can save your life.

I woke up at 6 am so disoriented I didn't know what day it was, if I needed to go to work, if I was on our planned vacation or just exactly where I was. I stood up, immediately wet myself and nearly fell down. I was so dizzy I couldn't walk without staggering wildly. Fortunately my bedroom is crammed with furniture and I managed to fall into a chair and stagger into the bathroom. I sat there for at least 20 minutes trying to gain my bearings. There was literally nothing in my head, all I could think is whats wrong, is this a dream. It was like I was unconscious but awake. No thoughts of what I had to do or had done the day before, just a great big nothing.

I was reasonably sure I was in my own home, but still not clear on the day. I felt so horrible I decided to go back to bed until 7:30 and then call in absent. When I laid down on my bed and closed my eyes the spinning was so bad it felt like I was going to spin off the earth into space. The next thing I remember was the alarm at 7:45. I got up and wasn't as dizzy, still mighty unsteady but able to get where I needed to be hanging on to things.

My TV was on, it was Morning Joe, clearly it was a weekday. I went to my computer and finally figured out which icon was my calendar. I tried to call in to tell them I wasn't coming in, but the phone defeated me, I was sure I dialed right but I hadn't, it was like my index finger was possessed.

The very fact I was significantly better, there was now something in my head altho it mostly made no sense it made me think I didn't need to go to the hospital. I thought about it and woke up my youngest son Bill, skippythebox's brother. Told him I thought I might need to go to the ER and didn't think I was safe to drive myself and calling 911 was silly.

He came down stairs just sort of stared at me. Mom, you are shouting and are you dizzy? Well, yes and yes. I told him what had happened earlier. I was still not sure I wanted to go, or even needed to go. What changed my mind was checking my bank account online. I couldn't log in correctly and had to call the bank to get me back in. It took the bank 15 minutes to get me squared away walking me thru each step me not being able to retain my account number or the temp password. The password really was a problem I could remember the first two numbers and the last two but not the middle numbers. Later during ER intake I was able to repeat the 6 numbers to them. 081944 my BIRTHDAY, my freaking birthday and I didn't recognize it.

They checked me over in the ER and decided since I had taken 30 mg of Baclofen the day before it was a drug overdose. I used to take it everyday, 60 mg so I was pretty sure something I had taken the previous morning wasn't the issue.

My Doctor got there and examined me, I had been examined by about 15 new recruits they thought they found a deficit on my right side. He didn't believe it was an overdose. He reexamined me and found a down beat nystagmus in my left eye. A nystagmus is the product of damage to the vestibular system or your cerebellum.

Something had happened in my head. He checked me in and they did a quick CAT scan of my head. I went to my room and got on my laptop, first thing I did was try to post on KOS.

I would like to thank the spelling police and you know who you are, LOL for not giving me a hard time. It was ugly. The nurses were really just babysitting me, so in addition to monitoring my heart and BP for my doctor the rest of the time they spent playing with other equipment, using me for their test subject. It's a teaching hospital and I never mind because it helps make better doctors. When they ran out of tests we played salad roulette jeopardy. they would ask me a question and I would say the first thing that popped into my head. First President of the United States, Space Needle. You get the idea.

The next morning I had regular and contrast MRI's on my head and neck. Ultrasound of my neck. An echo cardiogram that took more than an hour. They (the operator and a cardiologist checked every artery, every large vein, every valve, every nook and cranny of my heart, my vital organs looking for any problem.

The good news is they found nothing and I am in fantastic shape for my age, more like half my age. No clogs, no plaque, no clots and a heart that is very strong.

My doctor could have taken the ER attending's diagnosis but he didn't. And he knew how important this could be for my future well being. He left NOTHING to chance. He gave me a real gift by not blowing it off. Had there been a problem he would have been on top of it and with any luck could have helped me avoid a full blown stroke. the bill will probably be close to $20,000 my insurance will pay it without complaint.

That is why if you have ever had an episode like mine even if it is not as dramatic, or the symptoms go away real fast, which in most people they do, PLEASE go to the ER. If you do this you may never have to worry about the "golden hour". Thousands of strokes could be avoided every year if people took these episodes seriously.

PS It has taken me nearly four hours to type this, trying to make it perfect. Not bad for someone who could touch type before at a pretty good clip. If it isn't perfect be gentle:)


On the 19th I will be 66 years old. While I have physical problems that keep me from being a tornado most people think I am in my late 40's because I am young thinking, energetic, vivacious, deadly sense of humor, passionate, the fun one. All gone, I have become a lump, altho my closest friends think I am still funny. It has been quite a shock to be sitting quietly and have someone come up " ma'am, are you OK, do you need help." Not once but a number of times. I wasn't drooling but apparently I tend to look vacant. We know now just based on deficits, whatever happened happened to my brain stem, I am lucky.

It is hard coming to the realization you are altered in surprisingly significant ways, no matter how subtle you may think they are. Three days after I got out of the hospital I was on my way with my youngest son to the state Democratic Convention. The ever present vertigo caused issues but we came prepared with a wheel chair. Twice had problems keeping my thoughts straight and remembering. Avoided those lively discussions because it was so easy for me to get derailed. Most of the people around knew something had happened so their expectation was low, I didn't disappoint them. I did enjoy myself.

22 days after the event. I slept 12 hours last night, got up feeling perky. It was like I really woke up, I am smiling again and there is something actually going on in my head for a change. Not back to normal yet but at least I know there is a there there. The last 22 days when I looked at myself in the mirror, I looked different, couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I looked sort of dead. I see it now, part of the twinkle in the eye is back, my face is more animated. I don't feel as deflated. My sense of taste is still messed up. My life long love affair with chocolate and tuna is over for the time being. I've had to sign another signature card for my bank account.

I worry about the fine motor skills because I'm an artist of sorts. I had planned to write and illustrate children's books when I retire.


This is my youngest son Bill and the neighbor's bulldog, Maggie. Well, I can always go from realism in impressionism, LOL.

Saw my Doctor yesterday, the simple fix for my vertigo didn't work. It isn't the crystals in my inner ear. It is brain stem damage. I start vestibular rehab on the 26th of August. I just want to get to the point I can safely drive again. Probably will diary about vestibular rehab, doing it thru Boy's Town Research Center and they are very, very good. We still are not sure if this was caused by a rear end collision we had roughly 48 hours before the TIA. May know better after rehab.

So, snackdoodle is making it back a little at a time, done feeling sorry for herself and looking forward to NN in Minneapolis.

** Thank you for the place on the big board, nice Birthday present.

Originally posted to snackdoodle on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 05:12 AM PDT.

Also republished by KosAbility.

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