Spot A Stroke

I have been missing in action lately folks, and I am sorry about that. 
I’m also sad to say that this is the end of the NaBloPoMo challenge for me.  There’s so much going on with my family, with the holidays…I am not afraid to admit that I cannot keep up! 

It’s difficult to write when you have things weighing heavily on your mind.  So today, I thought I would write just to write.  No prompts today.  Just me and these heavy things.

On Saturday, my to-do list was overwhelming.  My Saturday post looked something like this:
“I’m hurrying, trying to get everything ready for this week.  We have a guest coming to stay with us and I don’t even have her room ready.  There are tons of crafts that I wanted to get done before her arrival.  I don’t have a complete menu yet.  I still have a couple things to grab at the store…I know, I do it to myself.  My stress level has been maintaining a steady high since we first discussed having Thanksgiving at our house.  Let me rephrase: since he dropped the bomb on me.” 

That was until I received the news on Saturday night.  

Today, these things are so trivial now.  

I got a text message from one of my sisters that night.  My step-dad is in the hospital.  He had a stroke.  It makes my heart sad to hear the entire story of what went on.  The doors to the house were all locked; he was inaccessible.   He was found lying on the floor after falling out of bed, and was there for who knows how many hours.  Cold.  Unable to move.  He had no control.  Totally alone.

He is in the hospital now.  My mom doesn’t seem alarmed, but that could be her way of handling it.  Maybe it’s not bad at all (the optimist speaking).  I am patiently waiting to hear how his surgery went, and what news the doctors have for him.  I don’t live in in the same state as them, let alone city, so it’s difficult for me to be there with/for my mom. 

It’s still kind of surreal to me.  I haven’t had a close member of my family get injured or sick to the point of being hospitalized.  It’s usually me!  Pneumonia can really get a girl down.  

The EMT part of my brain wonders if this could have been avoided.  Had someone been there with him right when he started to have a stroke, I wonder if the outcome would have been different.  I’m no doctor and I don’t know anyone who has ever had a stroke.  I think a hospital stay would be the same, but what about his ability to use his left side for simple everyday tasks? (eating, walking, his balance is off)  His speech impediment now?  

Remember this acronym:
F – facial droop when asked to smile
A – one arm drifts downward when asked to raise both arms
S – slurred speech, repeating simple phrase
T – Time person started showing these signs / act fast, call 9-1-1.

From my EMT training, I learned that “time is brain.”  As soon as you realize that a person is having a stroke, call 9-1-1Essentially there is a 3-hour window from the onset of a stroke to get the person to the proper facility for drug treatments.  (Fibrinolytics)  This is why it is so important to be able to spot and quickly assess the possibility of a stroke. 

In my step-dad’s case, he drastically went over that 3-hour window.  The FAST acronym was useless.  I don’t even think my mom and sister knew what was happening; in that moment they knew the best thing to do was to call for help. 

One thing my mom told me yesterday that lifted my spirits is that he said he wanted to come down here to our house for Christmas.  Of course he is unable to walk, let alone drive a car so that won’t be happening this year.  But the fact that he said this while in the hospital means he is also being optimistic about getting better, working with the therapists, being goal-oriented.  It’s a start.

I really hope that once he is back home, he starts to take his health seriously.  He hasn’t taken care of his health, and as stubborn as he is, won’t let my mom help him.  My mom took it in her own hands and threw out all of his cigarettes.  I think the beer is next.  Hopefully he will agree to get back on track to a healthy lifestyle.  I’m definitely pulling for him.  I’d like for them to make it down here for Christmas next year. 

I meant to post this on Monday.  I was actually still wrapping my mind around this whole thing.  He was found in such distress.  But now he is in the hospital and moving forward.  The surgery is supposed to help.  More time has been added to his clock.  It’s a wake-up call; his second chance.

[This is definitely not my typical type of post, and I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer.  Even if this post is not read, just the act of writing it makes the load a little less heavier for me.]        



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