The Scare

My husband had a headache. He took a nap and woke up an hour and a half later and couldn’t move his arm properly. Next thing he’s being transferred from our small rural hospital to a major teaching hospital with lights, sirens and a full stroke protocol organized.

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We got lucky. Hubby dearest had a dissection of the inner carotid artery causing a mild stroke. He had four days in hospital and was released with residual damage only the neurologist can detect. It was the mildest stroke one could have. The neurologist also said all the signs the stroke occurred should vanish completely because it was so very mild. If one has to have a stroke, this is the type to have.

The dissection is considered traumatic in origin because of a seatbelt accident. That means it will likely not happen again. All the other blood vessels are clear with no more plaque or issues than that of a twenty year old on a bad diet. My husband is in very good shape for 75. During his hospital stay, my husband had crazy wonky high blood pressure the doctors left alone up to a point. If it went up to what they considered too high, they gave him drugs to pull it down. He spent one night hooked up to monitors with the ICU crew. Fortunately, his 72 hours CT scan showed no change from the one he had on arrival. And so he was released with an arsenal of drugs and strict instructions on followup. He has been fine at home except for tiring easily. Post stroke fatigue is well described in the literature. His blood pressure was still pretty high on release but once he got home it soon dropped to normal. The drugs they sent him home on and the relief of being back in his own bed both did wonders for him. The dog was so happy she kept giving little yips of joy and shivering and then nudging him for a head pat during the two hour and fifteen minute drive home.

We got another wonderful demonstration of how the Canadian health care system works. It has two speeds, glacial and lightning and nothing in between. Folks around here wait literally months to get a CT if it is “elective”. My husband got his CT in the stroke protocol within twenty minutes after arrival at Emergency Room. He had a second one exactly 72 hours later. I have no complaints about the quality of the care. We had the usual issues with different doctors telling us different things. We had to repeat multiple times no pork for food. Breakfast was ghastly so I picked up take out and then got scolded for all the salt in the Subway sandwich. We had friendly wonderful nurses and grumpy ones. Normal hospital stuff. The quality of care was excellent.

We had demonstrations of wonderful kindness and much appreciated support from family, friends, neighbours and perfect strangers. Most people are good. We forget that fact sometimes in a world of 24 hours news services, but most people are indeed good.

He’s home. We dodged a bullet. He has used up one of his lives.

We went walking today because exercise between bouts of post stroke fatigue helps you get over the fatigue in less time according to the literature. The air was sweet smelling. His hand in mine as we walked felt so very warm and so very alive. Colours are brighter and more vibrant. His laugh, his smile, his scent, and the twinkle in his eye and everything about him is handsomer then it has has been in a long time even though I didn’t think I ever took him for granted.

Thank you, Master of the Universe for giving us a little more time together.

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