I have had a pretty scary few weeks.
The morning of Saturday July 19th, my hubby and I were catching up on one of our favourite TV Shows, “The Amazing Race Canada”, before heading out to a family gathering at his parent’s house. Around 12:30 I started slurring my words and my right side started to get very numb.
This has happened before so hubby went and got me a baby aspirin and we figured it would go away as quickly as it came on. It didn’t.
About one hour after it started he called for an ambulance and the next thing I knew I was in the hospital, getting a CT scan and waiting to see the results, all while still in the care of the paramedics who brought me in. They got the call to take me into Vancouver to the main hospital to see the stroke team. We went with lights flashing, horns and sirens blaring and hubby there with me to answer questions. When there I had another CT and waited for the doctor.
When she came, she did similar tests of strength and movement that were done at our local hospital and by the paramedics. She said that I had not had a stroke, and that the episodes I believed to be TIA’s (mini strokes) were not. She offered no explanation but discharged me to go back to our hospital. It was busy so took awhile for the transfer. When they were ready to take me, it was about 10 pm. They were taking another patient back as well, who also had a close call for stroke. We got about 10 or 15 minutes out and I started to slur again. They rushed me back, but the doctor insisted it was not stroke related. However, by this time I was unable to get a ride back so had to wait until about 6:30 am.
Back at my hospital, the doctor told me that I did have a few TIA’s and that there was some small beads of plaque on my carotid artery. He said he was sending me to the stroke prevention clinic where they would do an MRI and advise me of any other treatment if necessary.
The appointment was set for Tuesday July 28th; however, on Thursday I got a call saying I could take a cancellation for the next day, Friday the 24th. We traveled to another hospital where we saw a neurologist. He told me the same thing that the Vancouver doctor did – I did not have a stroke or TIA’s. He made some suggestions for changes in my medications and that was about it.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am relieved that I have not had anything related to a stroke. But I felt that the two doctors only saw two words in my chart “bipolar” and “depression”. The doctor on Friday suggested I up the medication I am taking as maintenance for the bipolar as it might help with symptoms. I looked it up. There is nothing that suggests this. The Vancouver doctor also mentioned my bipolar the second time she saw me.
Quite frankly the whole experience brought me to a mild depression. I feel that the medical profession rarely takes me seriously and I can only believe it is because I have the stigma of mental illness and chronic pain attached to my record and it will never go away.
I know there are many people with mental illness and “invisible” diagnoses such as chronic pain, chronic fatigue, etc. who can relate to treatment like this. There are many doctors and other medical personnel who do take us seriously, like the two at our local hospital who acted very fast and saw me as a patient in need. However, we don’t always get to choose who we see. And I don’t know about you, but frankly I get to the point where I don’t want to go see anyone until a problem gets out of hand.
I am still having some symptoms on and off. They mainly occur if I don’t get enough sleep, don’t enough or the right foods, am upset for any reason or do too much. I am so thankful that my hands and thoughts are better so that I can write again. I was going stir-crazy not being able communicate! Now I have to get caught up on my blog reading.
Okay, I will get off my soap box now!
On a very positive note regarding this experience,I have been really able to let go and let God through this ordeal. He has blessed me in so many ways. I have had many friends from all over the world sending positive thoughts, prayers and well wishes. Several local friends have been bringing food and visiting with me. Kay has stayed over several nights when hubby has worked late so I am not alone in the evenings. She makes sure I eat right, rest and stay as stress free as possible. My hubby has been so awesome through all of this – he is my rock.