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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Transient Ischemic Attack

Whaaat?!! Dear Friends, today I came home from St. Mary-Corwin Hospital in Pueblo after a 2 day stay for that weird bunch of words in my title. TIA is commonly called a mini stroke.
Derek, Granddaughter, Lindsay, and Great Grandbaby Shawn.

The past 2 weeks, as I have been quite busy taxiing Mom to doctor and dentist appointments and preparing for the annual family get together in Fowler for Missouri Day, I have gotten progressively weaker and tireder and more forgetful than usual. Since their was no food left in Mom's house, where we were all going to be staying, I had to plan, and shop for food and supplies, as well as get some necessary items in our "new" retro camper trailer, so Joe and I would have a place to sleep. I knew something was wrong to make me so weak and tired, but I didn't have time to think about it, and next week I would call the doctor to discuss the problem.

On the way down, Mom and I followed Joe pulling the trailer with his business small truck, which we had not used before. We were concerned that the tires might not hold up. They did. The truck ran over something and had a blowout, and since it came without a spare, we had to find someplace to buy a new tire and have it mounted at 8 o'clock in the evening. We drove to a nearby WalMart which had a tire store and found that they had closed at 8, but we found a worker about to close one of the big pull down doors and when he heard our sad tale, he agreed to sell us a tire and mount it for us. Sometimes you still come upon an angel unawares.

Mom and I got to Fowler at around 11 at night and I was falling down, crying exhausted (well I didn't but I wanted to). We enjoyed the parade the next morning at which my children's father and his sister were parade marshall's, and had a great day walking in the park and visiting with old friends and watching Grandson Evan and Great Grandaughter Kaylee riding ponies.

It was my brother, Steve's, 50th high school reunion and he had been invited to display some of his photographs in the art show. He presented them in the form of giclee prints on canvas and they are even more spectacular than seeing them online.

We went to bed late and when I woke in the middle of the night, for the reason that old women have to get up in the middle of the night, my lower left face felt as if I had been to the dentist and had a shot as well as feeling as if there was a strange thick portion of my inside cheek. I didn't feel bad, just strange, so I went back to bed. When I finally came to the front of the one bathroom line, I looked at my face and saw that my left side of my mouth and my left jowel were drooping. I've worked for so many years with seniors I realized that this was not a good sign. I went to the living room and told Joe that we needed to get me to a hospital right away, even though it was hard to take it seriously since I didn't feel any worse than I had for a while.

The ER took it seriously and I went to the head of the class and after a short time of examination, explanation and a cat scan of my brain (I really have one) I was sent upstairs and hooked up to monitors and switched from Ursula to the hospital oxygen. I will not discuss trying to rest or sleep in a hospital, but they treated me very well. First thing next morning I was wheeled for an ultra sound of my Carotid Arteries and an MRI of my brain. I then received an Echo Cardiogram (remember my piece "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" from last July's
hospitalization? In the meantime I tried to pass out in the bathroom while washing my face and soon had an unbelievable number of people and equipment in my room and was no longer allowed to walk across the few steps to the bathroom without assistance. [I learned that I have to be careful of being active in hot places or outside on hot days, as heat is also a stressor for me, which explains my bad experiences the last 2 Julys. The thermostat in my room was malfunctioning and the heat got up to 80 with it turned completely down.]

By the end of the day the facial numbness and droop went away and I was just so tired and had a miserable headache all night. The Neurologist/Neuro Surgeon was supposed to come review my case and see me at about 8 in the evening to make the final decision of what was wrong and what treatment I needed. I finally gave up and tried to sleep at a little after 10. At a quarter to 11 the lights came on and the poor, extremely busy Neurologist touched my shoulder to wake me and discuss my case.

The good news came this morning that I could go home before noon. I had had a TIA, which unlike an actual stroke, did not leave me with permanent after effects. The best news is that the Carotid Arteries are not blocked and I am not in danger of another TIA or full blown stroke if I am a good girl and take care of myself. I have a new, expensive prescription to keep the platelets from clumping, and I am to eat the same type of diet I've used the last month to lose fat, exercise moderately, and not get overly tired.

"Tenting tonight in the old Metzner National Campground." [The small two bedroom house could not contain all of us, so we camped.]

When we got home I was completely wiped out and I am having the emotional fall out that comes with these types of episodes. I felt that having finally started to improve my health this past month, I didn't deserve this. My daughter, Kat, told me it's like when you start deep cleaning your skin, for a while you break out worse because the toxins and impurities are coming out. She said that having made this healthly change and started on a new path, the toxins are coming out, and I can then be much better. I like to think she is right, and I am already seeing how continuing to drive myself all my life, using food as the carrot in front of the donkey to keep driving myself when I should rest is probably one of the things that has brought this on; especially this past year when I have been so physically stressed by the horrible side effects of Lipitor, not to mention the loss of my father and taking on the responsibility of looking after my Mom. [My typing is worse than usual due to my brain being a bit jumbled by the TIA, I'm constantly having to type backwards and then forwards again.]

My daughter, Michal Ann, is coming down to help me tomorrow, and my foster Granddaughter, Amber is staying with me, to help out, tonight and tomorrow till she goes to work at 6 pm. The family is rallying and we will work out how to handle the things that need to be handled without stressing myself. What was the old song, "I will survive"? I think I may have made it to the Graduate Institute of the School of Hard Knocks.

To make up for all this venting and and warning to others, I am including some photos of the good times at Fowler's Annual Missouri Day 2008.

When I checked my e-mail back log this evening I got a very pleasant surprise from Debra S. in
her blog; she has chosen Toad Haven Annex to receive one of her
Brilliante Weblog Premio 2008 Award awards. I felt so honored to receive this from my online quilt and blog mentor, when I have been feeling that I hadn't been doing a very good job recently. I will be considering this award and will make my choices in the near future, "God willing and the creek don't rise."


Deborah said...

Fran, I'm glad everything is okay. My mother experienced a TIA once, she was treated, and had no more problems. You have a wonderful family to support you and you are doing all the right things, so you will be fine. Take care, and you will be in the prayers and thoughts of all you online buddies!

jenclair said...

You've been through a lot lately. As Deborah said, you have great family support and that is a blessings. My thoughts are with you as you continue your recovery.

Debra said...

Let the younger ones do some of the preparations and such. It will be good for them to learn what to do & they need to treat you like the Queen you are and wait on you.

Please rest!


Allison Ann Aller said...

You are a total inspiration and you deserve that award and more!

Please stay on your healthy new track, let go and let others help you. You are such a huge blessing to those who know you...

Kay said...

I also thought you deserved an award. Hang in there, Fran. Things WILL get better. Sending good thoughts to you--

Barbara C said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your illness Fran, but I'm also impressed by the energy and good humor with which you write about your experience. Your spirit is very strong, just pamper the body a bit so that it can keep up with you.

I'm sending you hugs and wishes for a speedy recovery.

Anonymous said...

Whew! What a story! Okay Fran, we are canceling July from here on out. No more Julys for you! I hope you get some energy soon. I'll be thinking of you as I go about my day today.

Micki said...

Fran I am so glad that you are okay after all that has happened. Rest and take care.

McIrish Annie said...

Fran, Please rest and take care of yourself! Look forward to more of your wonderful work when you are up to it. Until then, you are in my thoughts

Vivian Love said...

Fran, Scary experience! One of my daughters had a TIA at age 22! So just about anyone can have one! (The docs think it was caused from a high dose of estrogen from her birth control pills.) She's had no lasting effects since, thank goodness. Please take care of yourself. I'm glad all is well. My thoughts are with you.

Beth said...

I hope you are doing okay, and will pray for you!