I was visiting my daughter, enjoying the time with my three grandchildren. I awoke one morning with a crashing headache. My daughter, who had worked as a nurse before starting her family, looked at me hard. Later she told me that my mouth was drooping and I seem dazed and confused. She asked me to say the names of her children. I was surprised. It was hard. I had trouble concentrating. She asked me to raise both arms in the air. The right one stayed put, but the left one moved downwards. My daughter insisted on an immediate trip to the nearby hospital’s emergency room. I felt numb all down my left side.
Things moved pretty quickly from there. Within about fifteen minutes I was at the hospital and in a treatment room. I had a scan, which revealed I had had a stroked. The doctor explained that blood was leaking into my brain, destroying brain cells. They acted really, really fast. I was put on medicine the doctor said would stop the bleeding and I was moved to a room in the hospital’s stroke unit. I was watched round the clock, with short visits from my daughter. I seemed to drift in and out of sleep.
I felt as if I was in a fog. It was hard to concentrate. And my speech was slurred. Even making a fist with my hand was difficult. A physical therapist came by and did a quick evaluation, as did a speech therapist. I was given a little ball to squeeze in the palm of my hand and the speech therapist began doing some simple speech exercises with me. A neurologist came by and started me on some medication he said would both help treat my symptoms and prevent a re-occurrence of the stroke. At that, I began crying. He was super, saying that the emotions of stroke victims were very fragile and that crying was normal, in the circumstances.
Thanks to my daughter’s quick response, I was treated quickly. Had I delayed, more damage would have been done to my brain as a result of the blood flow. I still have some weakness on my left side and difficulty with speech, but that is improving gradually with physical and speech therapy. And time. I am now religious about taking my blood pressure medication. Before the stroke, I had been on again and off again.