Monday, July 12, 2010

Strokes Of Bad Luck

Thirty-one years ago this week, my Dad had a stroke. He came home from work with the worst headache he had ever experienced. He went to sleep, woke up about 9 hours later, stood up and fell to the floor. He was 49 years old.

He recovered enough to go back to work about 2 months later. His stroke had been on the right side of his brain. He was left with some weakness in his left arm and leg that was most noticeable when he was tired. He never lost his capacity to speak.

About 20 years later, my grandmother had a stroke. She was in her 80's and the stroke damaged the left side of her brain. She was able to speak clearly enough to be understood, but not to produce sensible speech. The way her doctor described it, she had been "hit in the dictionary".

It broke my heart. We never had another serious conversation. My grandmother was my "soul-sister". We had similar physical and emotional illnesses. We loved each other with all our hearts.

She remembered that I had a daughter, but not her name. She would ask, "How is your girl?"
She would get chilled and ask me for her umbrella. Umbrella was a common term for anything that her "dictionary" had erased. She often said something that sounded like "Vantage" but no one ever knew what she was trying to say.

Most of the time when I visited my grandmother, she would take my hand and hold on like she would never let go, while I chatted with my grandfather and tried to include her in the conversation.

My Mom just spent 6 days in the hospital. It has been determined that she suffered 2 small strokes. It is commonly known as TIA (transient ischemic attack). There are not any lingering symptoms, only the knowledge that 50% of the people with TIA will have a larger stroke within a year.

Mom is afraid. All of the test were inconclusive...no brain bleed, no blood clots, no blockages.
We're left with a sense that there may be more strokes of bad luck in our future.

15 comments:

bunny said...

Strokes are scary. They have few signs and can leave behind a wide wake of damage.

That said, your mom should not be afraid, but mindful and as proactive as possible and LIVE LIVE LIVE and LOVE LOVE LOVE regardless of what lies ahead.

blackbird said...

I'm sending you both a hug!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Sending good thoughts your way for a full recovery. (((Hugs)))

Gail said...

NO!!! Oh gees....make sure that you and your Mom know the signs of a stroke and if she has another get her to the hospital IMMEDIATELY! There are meds that when administered within so many hours of a stroke that can help majorly! My Mom knew that she'd had strokes but wouldn't acknowledge them. By then it was too late for the meds.

Heather T said...

I'm sending you big hugs and prayers. Your mom is north now? Maybe since she has this advance notice and can look for signs of a stroke, she'll be able to avoid any serious long term effects if she has one.

The only other thing I can think to say is, hang in there...

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Sweetie, I'm sorry. I will pray for your mom.

Jen on the Edge said...

Oh, how scary. Sending good thoughts your way.

Cat said...

I've been through this recently with both of my parents. It is so scary, but the good news is they are both doing well, just like I hope your mom does.

A Reminder to "Live" said...

Memere Levesque had Wernicke's Aphasia.. 4 years of college were not a waste lol

Love you Mom, and thinking of the family constantly.

Loretta a/k/a Mrs. Pom said...

I hope your Mom is okay. It is so scary when they are in the hospital and no one can say what happened. I will share that my Dad had a really bad TIA where he didn't know where he was or what day it was, etc. He recovered from it quickly and never had another one. So it's very possible that your mom will, too. That's from Dr. Loretta for what it's worth. love to you and Cape Cod Mom

Badger said...

Oh man! I am thinking good thoughts for your mom. Strokes run in my mom's family but there is so much more they can do for them these days. My grandpa had TIAs in the past but thanks to blood thinners he has never had a major stroke and is still hanging in there at 90 years old!

When I first started college I majored in speech pathology and intended to work with stroke victims and head injury patients who had aphasia. Sometimes I wish I'd stuck with it.

Feeling Beachie said...

I will keep your mom in my thoughts… Strokes are so scary, and can happen so fast. Moments after my dad got out of the car, he suffered a major one. I was only 14 and alone with him at the time. Unfortunately after three weeks in the hospital, he didn’t make it. But since then, there have been such amazing advance in medicine.

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

Jeanne, sending good thoughts for your Mom. Knowledge is power if they know what they are dealing with. Hugs for you both. XO

Cat said...

Oh {{{hug, hug, hug}}}

I've got tears, BIG tears. Mainly b/c I'm frightened too. My Dad had a TIA about a year ago. My BFF had a stroke two years ago, and she was in her thirty's!!!! Strokes scare the beejesus outta me.

Class factotum said...

I do not understand why the good parents and grandparents have bad things happen to them and the drunk, mean parents last forever.