On January 19, 2017 my husband, Chris, had a stroke that initially completely paralyzed his left side.
Getting out of the shower he says he began to feel ‘weird’. He lowered himself to the floor and attempted to call out to me, but as he says, “only half my face worked” and no sound came out. He banged on the floor to wake me and when that didn’t work he crawled across the floor into the next room to get closer to wake me.
The paralysis passed within 20 minutes and he was able to call out loud enough to wake me.
In my sleep I heard a loud bang, but assumed my husband had dropped something. Drifting back to sleep I heard a second banging which started the dogs barking. This made me realize there was something amiss. As I had that realization I heard him call to me, but unable to determine the message.
I called back to him and in response I heard a strangled “help me!”
I struggled to put clothes on and wake my brain up as I ran to him. I found him sitting on the floor in somewhat of a daze. I talked with him, trying to ascertain what had occurred while he slowly came back from the fuzzy depths of his consciousness.
As he talked I knew he’d had a TIA. I knew the appropriate treatment was to get him to the hospital as fast as possible.
But my brain and my body seemed to be on different planes of existence as I talked with him and helped him regain orientation. I actually gave him a choice.
He adamantly refused my urging to go to the ER or call an ambulance…part fear, part obstinance, part frugal, part shock.
He is a general contractor and insisted that he keep his appointment to finish sealing a customer’s backsplash. When I say he was adamant, I mean there was no changing his mind. I’m not sure now if it was actually a symptom of the stroke or if its was just his normal bullheadedness.
In either case, I’m sure now that I was in shock myself. While I had the presence of mind to convince him he couldn’t drive, I did not have the presence of mind to take him directly to the ER when I had him in the car to drive him to the customer’s house. I also had the presence of mind to give him two Excedrin (the only aspirin in the house) but as I write this I realize I did not have the presence of mind to have him chew it.
As he worked, I could tell something was off, but not enough so that the customer noticed. There was an air of doom, whether of my own creation, his or just appropriate I don’t know. Admittedly, though I did sit there with some sort of relief, thinking we had dodged a bullet.
As he finished up at the customer’s house, he conceded that he had better take the rest of the day off and rest. This was a step in the right direction, but not nearly enough steps forward! For those of you saying to yourselves right now, “I would’ve just driven him to the nearest ER against his will.” I’m sure I would agree with you, except when it is actually happening to you there is absolutely no way to predict how your brain will actually function with your limbs.
As he laid down I continued to have deep gut feelings that I needed to get him to the hospital. What I know of him is that logic works best. So I exhausted every single alternative medical intervention. Each avenue I researched led back to the same advice “get thee to an ER”.
When I presented my research he still wasn’t convinced and made some calls himself. By now several hours had passed. He finally conceded to go to the ER, upon the recommendation of a dear friend we went to a different ER than the one I would’ve taken him too. (I’m still new to the area and don’t know the local ins and outs.)
He went in though with the disclaimer that he could not would not be admitted. He had a work project he needed to finish and could not afford the medical bills. No matter what medical professionals told him, he refused to hear it. He wanted meds to take care of it, and be on his way.
He signed himself out AMA. The diagnosis was TIA as it seemed all the symptoms had disappeared. He was given meds for his high blood pressure and told to take an aspirin daily.
A deep foreboding remained in my gut and I worried the whole night that he would have another TIA or a stroke.