Sunday, April 14, 2013

In which I have a stroke (Part 2: I am hospitalized)

After my wife called 911 and we went through the stroke questions over the phone, the paramedics came and examined me. They asked me the same questions again. The answers were still bad. They seemed to spend a long time on asking what happened and stuff like that. My nine-year-old daughter was able to fill them in pretty well. I thought I was doing OK with the narrative, but they seemed to prefer her version. They referred to her a couple of times as "our best historian." I was kind of proud of her, but kind of annoyed at the paramedics at the same time, because I thought I was doing fine telling the story.

Then it was finally time to get me into the ambulance. I worried for a second if they would have trouble getting me down our front steps (at 270 pounds/122 kilos; I've lost 25 pounds/11 kg since then, although I can't really recommend stroke as a weight-loss method), but it was no problem. I tried to raise my head to look at my wife and daughter before I left, but I couldn't. I thought for a second something else was wrong, but I'd seen enough football players on TV get carted off the field with head injuries to know that they always strap your head down when there's any kind of head or neck problem, and I could feel a strap across my forehead, so I quickly figured out what was going on.

I have no memory at all of the ambulance ride itself. I don't know if I was unconscious, or maybe I even fell asleep. It was pretty late. We got to the hospital, and I remember going inside and all because it was kind of a bumpy ride. After a few minutes in the Emergency Room, somebody took me to the scanning room to get a CT scan of my head. The technician there introduced herself by saying, "Hello, my name is Destiny." I thought that was a little weird. I knew there are people named Destiny, but I'd never had anyone say, "My name is Destiny" to me before. So, of course, I thought (but didn't say, because I wasn't that into her), "I suppose this scan must have been inevitable, then."

Well the CT scan found my right internal carotid artery was blocked. A neurosurgeon inserted a catheter through my thigh and pulled a blood clot out of the artery. Then he gave me a clot-busting drug. When he was done, I could move my arm again. I was left, though, with possible damage to the right basal ganglia, right temporal lobe, and right frontal lobe.

So, I was hospitalized, for the first time since my birth.

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  1. This is awful! I'm so sorry to hear this, and I hope you get all the way better.

    I totes would have said that to Destiny though, if I could have.

  2. Thanks, man. I'm at about 80 percent now mentally, which is probably better than about 75 percent percent of regular people, but way below what I'm used to. Sometimes I feel like I'm living Flowers for Algernon.

  3. "Hello, my name is Destiny." Would have been better if her name was ‘Hope’ or ‘Faith’ (I actually knew two women by those names). However, it turned out to be more like an Asian chick named ‘Lucky Yu’.

    Wishing you the fullest recovery possible.

  4. Thanks. I'm coming along. My left hand is a little clumsy (I notice it mainly when i type), and my left leg is a little weak (I have a tiny limp), and my mind does some strange things (more about that later).


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