Amazingly, there was nothing out of the ordinary in health, on that week of the stroke, etc. There were no signs whatsoever such as headaches; colds; flu; sleepless nights...nothing to suggest that a stroke was coming on. No warning whatsoever! I was having lunch at the time of the attack, and I was flattened. I was having a feeling inside of me, that I had never had before. The feeling was like riding one of those saucer cups that spin at the amusment park, and stop and go the other way, and then spin out of control.
The feeling I had at lunch, was like a combination plate, of nausea; low-blood pressure; and spinning around on one of those silly cups at the amusement park. I was sitting at the breakfast bar at the time, having lunch, and everything was blurred at the time. I experienced no pain whatsoever, and I couldn't understand why I couldn't I couldn't stand up and move around. I wanted to go into the bedroom and lie down for awhile, but I couldn's get up off the kitchen chair.
I had to put my head down on the breakfast bar for awhile, to catch my breadth...I was sweatting so profusely, that there were little puddles around where I was lying. I was panting hard, and was having trouble breathing. I really thought at the time, that this was the end of my life...I would die soon! I reached into my pocket and called 911 on my cell phone, and about five minutes later, there were ambulance attendance banging on the door to let them in. Since I could not get up to answer the door, I yelled at them that I was here, and to call maintenance, to open the door.
My shirt was wringing wet from all the sweating, and after the ambulance people came into the apartment, they ripped the shirt off my back, and threw it away! At this point in time, I could remember that I could not move from side to side, and I could not stand up witout help! It was also about this time, that nausea set in, and it was only a matter of time, when the vomiting would start.
The ambulance people placed me on the gurney and took me downstaires from the 5th floor where I live, and placed me in the ambulance, etc. It was at this time, when the ugly face of nausea really kicked in, and I threw up all over the ambulance! Little did I know at the time, that there would be 17 more throw-up sessions during the trip to the hospital, and for the next day and a half, etc. So, I threw up from 1:00PM that afternoon in the ambulance...to 8:00PM the following night, and my throat was beaten up. All in all, I threw up 18 times in my first two days after the stroke, etc.
For all our friends and visitors around the world, who may not be familiar with the following words, I will define them for you, so you can better understand.
hiccups; (definition); a quick involuntary inhalation that follows a spasm of the diaphram and is suddenly checked by the closing of the glottis, producing a sharp relatively sharp sound;
If that wasn't enough, I got an attack of the hic-cups, that lasted for me, for about 8 days after I was hospaitalized. I am not a doctor, or a medical person, and I was told, that the hic-cups came on the scene, because there was some kind of communications mix-up between the brain and the diaphram, which led to the hic-cups. I was told my a neurologist, that there was no way to get rid of them at this point in time...I would just have to suffer with them.
And suffer...I did! A little bit of math, showed me that the hic-cups came every ten seconds; for a 24 hour day; and for the first 8 days of my hospitalization; nearly 2,000 hic-ups. This meant...little sleep for the entire week for me. I spent my first week at the Heart Hospital, and after that, I was transferred to the Lovelace Hospital, and I was given something to take care of the hiccups.
On day #2 of my hospitalization, I was taken, by wheelchair, for a meeting on the other side of the ward. There were about ten people sitting around a large dining table...and all were in WHEELCHAIRS! As I looked down at my own wheelchair, and for the first time, I realized that I have just suffered through something very serious, and that something ugly and disturbing had just happened to me!
During this meeting, I met other people who had suffered and survived a stroke;
- One woman told me that she had lost the use of her right hand;
- Another man was noticeably dis-figured, with his jaw favoring one side of his face; he was also wearing a black patch over one eye.
- Another man told me that he was paralyzed all down the right side of his body;
On a scale of 1 to 10...with 10 being the worst..I think my stroke was about a #4 in severity. In other words, I dusted a stroke...and I don't think I took the full brunt of the stroke...and the collateral damage was at a minimum. WIth the tests I've done so far, all have brought me good news, an the only one that has not been tested in a formal way, has been the mental/cognative tests, to show what I can do and what I cannot do. Writing this article is a form of a cognative test...whether or not I remember how to write; spell; grammar, etc. So far...so good! (knock on wood)
I am not a doctor or a medical person, and I don't think there is a doctor who can predict a stroke or prevent a stroke, but I think a person can prevent a stroke, by taking care of himself or herself. I compare a stroke to a tornado...both are unpredictible! The tornado drops out of the sky unnanounced, and damages everything is sight. The stroke is the same thing...it lurkes in the shadows, unitl it's ready to strike. Strokes are a lot like tornadoes...they don't discrminiate against who they strike...young and old alike. Strokes are not just for old people, you know!
I think the person who takes care of himself or herself, has the best chances of surviviving a stroke. And yes, you might get dusted by a stoke, but one of your best chances, it to take care of yourself in the first place. Below, I provided a list of the things I do, to take care of myself, and I wonder, after my first stroke, if the colaterallal damage COULD have been more damaging if I had not taken care of myself.
- Smoking Sucks! How I Quit Smoking;
-Here's the Skinny On How I Lost 40 Pounds;
- Peer Pressure; It's Everywhere! (illegal drugs)
- Tough-Love; Ricky's Story (alcoholism)
-Winners are Never Quitters; and Quitters Are Never Winners;
- My Top Ten Commandants of Good Health;
Grandma Moses, was 101 years old when she died, and I think she is a great example of determination in one's life. She was an embroiderer, and because of artritis in her hands, she became a painter. Over her lifetime, she painted over 1,000 pictures, and she didn't get started until she was 78 years of age, which is incredible in itself! She sold her work world-wide and her paintings were made into greeting cards, and she was a celebrity all over the world. Goes to show you...it's never too late to start, not only with your hobby, which is therapeutic, but with taking care of yourself as well.
$64,000.00 Question? What if your can't swallow food or drink?
Answer; You die!
Swallowing is a big deal around here, etc. When I first got into the rehabilitation hospital, I was having trouble swallowing, and so I was placed on a thicken diet, and that's where I've been for the last two weeks. Thickened water; thickened juices; thickened food, etc. I found out that thickened water is easier to swallow than regular water, which is looser and can get away from your control, making you choke and cough and go 'down the wrong pipe', and make you choke and gasp for air.
First swallow TEST RESULTS (June 13, 2012); I had swallowing difficulties from the time I came to the hospital three weeks ago (May, 2012); The results of the swallowing test, showed that I am still weak, and I need to further strengthen my swallowing muscles for thin liquids, etc. That will probably mean more additional time in the hospital, or in out-patient...or both! That means that thin luquids will have to continue to be thickened (laced with thickener), so I can swallow them more easily.
puree; (definition); a cooked food, especially a fruit or vegitable,that has been put through a sieve, blender or the like; (similiar to tomato paste in consistency)
The entire time I've been in the hospital, I have eaten pureed food, which has the consistancy of a vinilla malt. Everything is pureed; mash potatoes and gravy; tomato soup, etc.
From; Albuquerque Stroke Club; (What is a stroke?);
Stroke is also known as a brain attack...not a heart attack. It is a sudden loss of brain function, in which the brain does not carry out its usual tasks. This is often caused by interference with the blood supply to the brain. One of the major causes of a stroke, is a blood clot somewhere in the body that travels to the brain and lodges to the small blood vessels. This event is a stroke. There are several other causes; diabetes; high-blood pressure; and lupus can all contribute to a stroke...and much of the population is at risk.
Stroke Warning Signs
- Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body;
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding;
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes;
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause;
Don't Stall...Call Now! 911
Treatment can be more effective if given quickly; Every minute counts;
Face; Ask the person to smile...does one side of the face droop?
Arms; Ask the person to raise both arms;
Speech; Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence;
Time; If the person shows any signs of these symptoms, time is important. Call 911, or get to a hospital FAST! Brain cells are dying!
American Stroke Association;
National Stroke Association;
New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services;
For those of you living in other states, can call your Senior Centers; contact the City Hall Website for support groups, etc.
National Alliance For Caregiving;
Albuquerque Stroke Club;
Recovery; The outlook for recovery is bright; notably are thee now clotbusting drugs, which, if administered early enough, can dramatically limit permanent defecits; there have been great strides made in a variety of therapies for the survivor.
Rehabilitation; This lengthy and difficult process, involves, a great deal of patience, dedication and determination on the part of the caregivers, family, friends, and medical personell...each individual can make significant progress.
Did you know?
There are approximately 550,000 new and recurrent strokes a year in the United States.
Stroke risk increases with age! The risk of stroke doubles with each decade after age 55.
Stroke is the primary cause of adult disabitity in the United States.
Prevention: What changes will help to prevent stroke?
1) control high blood pressure; 2) control stress; 3) exercise; 4) eat a low-fat/cholesterol diet; 5) drink less alcohol; 6) manage diabetes.
Changing the lifestyle: For me, I've learned my lesson, when I got punched in the nose by the Big Bad Wolf (stroke) Just like the country going in the wrong direction...my life was going in the wrong direction, too. From now on...no more complacency; no more laziness; no more couch potato mentality; no more cheating myself (denial); no more excuse-making, etc. I have to get back to the basics and the work-ethic of taking care of myself...and that's 24/7! I didn't like this little trip to the hospital for a month; with a feeding tube stuck up my nose and down my stomach for over ten days! I have not liked learning to walk again, or dealing with swallowing problems, etc. I've learned my lesson...This stroke has been a blessing in disguise, because it has gotten me back on the right track to continued good healthcare
Laughter is the Best Medicince
Everyone knows that laughter is the best medicine, for just about everything that ails you. The positive and healing power og humor can not be underestimated. It is said that humor can be dangerous to your illness, and I think it's true . I've been in the humor business for over 50 years, and I can never get enough when I put I smile on somebody's face. It gives me such great satisfaction. Humor helps us all to cope with the aging process, and to reduce stress in our lives, etc. Therefore, I would not write a piece like this, without adding a little humor, to make the piece a light entertaining piece, instead of a scientific paper, which no one will read.
Bless you! Isn't God good to get you up and around again? And, how fortunate you must feel to walk again. Your email reminded me of how blessed I am to be healthy. It's so easy to take health (and other things for granted). I wish you a full, speedy recovery." Vicki H
No Rest/Sleep In the Hospital
Everyone knows, that you will get no rest; no sleep in the, hospital if you ever have a short or long stay. I was in the hospital, recently, and below is how one my night was like;
10:00PM; Lights Out/BONKERS;
12:00 MIDNIGHT; NURSE; "Sorry, to wake you, Mr. Aragon, but we have to take some blood."
2:00AM; NURSE; "Sorry, to wake you, Mr. Aragon, but we have to give you a sleeing pill, so you can get some sleep."
4:00 AM; NURSE; "Sorry, to wake you, Mr. Aragon, but I would like to show you my new poem, which I hope you will like."
6:00 AM; NURSE; "Sorry, to wake you, Mr. Aragon, but we have to know how tall you are."
8:00 AM; The doctor walks into the room: "Good morning, Mr. Aragon, how are you feeling this fine morning?"
"Hi Jerry...thanks for sharing your story. It shows that your 'humor capacity,' is still in great shape, and will help you through this hurdle,. Best wishes for a continued recovery. Gerry H"
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Copyright; Jerry Aragon; 2012; The Humor Doctor