Saturday, November 20, 2010

OK...So What The Heck Is A "TIA"?

At this point I've gone through two surgeries, and I'm home
dealing with my slow recovery, taking meds, watching my
blood pressure and trying not worry, and be happy....
Now they have started me going to cardiac rehab, 3 days
a week...I use three different stationary pieces of
exercise equipment and I'm starting to recondition
myself....I hope that I  can get to the place where I'm not
so short winded all the time...

That's My Girlfriend Belinda....Thank God I have her in my
life at this time to take care of me and help me along!

One Wednesday I'm on the third and last piece of equipment
in which I place my feet in the stirrups and pedal for 11
minutes..I'm working harder that I usually do....going by the
guage on the screenI'm putting out "80 watts" of work output
instead of  the usual 60....I'm wanting to get myself moving along in
the weekly climb towards being healthy and able again.....

Then, my left foot falls out of the pedal and after
repeated tries it kept falling out, no matter how many times
I put it in, it simply falls out again.....Then I try enlarging the strap
thinking that its simply too small for my left foot....but Im strangely
unable to use my fingers, or figure out how to unhook it, so I signal
for the Nurse Practitoner Cheryl to come and assist me...

When I start speaking to her, we both realize that the left
side of my mouth is drooping, and my speech is so slurred that
something is wrong! She exclaims, "Stephen, are you alright...?"
before I know it,there are five more nurses there with a bed on
wheels....putting monitoring tags on my chest and asking me
questions,wheeling me into the ER, which luckily was on the same
floor as the rehab!

By the time they got me into the ER, my symptoms were
almost gone. They were talking about sending me to get a CAT
Scan, and using the word"stroke"....After a little bit more time,
I was able to smile with both sides of my mouth, and my speech
returned to normal.....

The ER Dr. gave me a Stroke test consisting of 22
questions, each scoring towards how bad my stroke was...I
scored a 1 out of a possible 22, and they told me I had what
was called a TIA, or a "Transient Ischemic Attack" which is so
small a stroke, it's like a warning....They wanted to ambulance
me down to the Springfield hospital where I had my surgery,
and have mysurgeon look at me as I stayed another
night in the hospital was funny 'cause all the nurses down
there were exclaiming "Steve!" What are you doing back here?..."
and "How are you?"

It was like being around old friends again....that
was nice....I really like the staff in the cardiac telemetry
unit at Baystate Hospital, very hard working and pleasant....
They took great care of me and helped me through the
worst of the whole ordeal....I appreciate them very much....

The next day I had a 40 minute MRI on my brain and neck to
check for clots or damage from the lack of oxygen, and it
eventually showed all clear....Then they gave me a Trans
Esophageal Echo, which meant they knocked me out and put a
camera down my throat to check on the aortic pipes that
were just put in to see if there were anymore clots in them....
which also was all clear....!

I was relieved to say the least!!!!

I got to go home that night with Belinda, and started the
road to recovery again....I have to say more fearful of what
the future held for me since I could have another TIA at any
time....and maybe I would be at home or at least not at
rehab like I wasbefore. I had new meds to take to further
lower my blood pressure, and it meant that it was more
watch and wait...

Then another shoe drops! Im seeing my local cardiologist,
and she reads on my CAT Scan report that my abdominal
aorta has enlarged below the second repair to another
aneurysm! Oh No-Possibly another surgery!
My mind is blown....I wander out of her office                                                     
dumbfounded....feeling hopeless and I can see how Im
actually going to die instead of having the feeling that
I'm going to live forever like before the whole ordeal.

I go home, and start telling Belinda, Lisa, and
Nick....writing emails that I have even more bad news..
Im crying at the drop of a hat now more than ever! A third
surgery in 7 months! Would I be  paralyzed? Would I even
make it off the operating table?   How would I live in my house
with a stairway to the bathroom and  bedroom, and my studio
with my bass, guitar and computer?

I'm scheduled to go see my surgeons nurse that next
morning, and hear whether or not I have to go for surgery,
and how soon....this is definitely the hardest night of my whole
cardiac experience.....

Stay with me as the news takes a dramatic turn, and the
Lessons of Life start pouring in.....

1 comment: