What you should know if you have a stroke
Where has the time gone? I haven't posted for four weeks. Have I really been that busy?
I have been busy with trying to keep my sister's medical and financial manners in order. It's not an easy task and not one I would wish on my worst enemy. Lesson learned from this catastrophic event: DO NOT HAVE A DEBILITATING STROKE! More on this later.
I've been busy with work. I'm back at it and have a giant, scary project in front of me. Scary, as in I don't know how the hell I'm going to meet my deadline.
I've also been getting back into a daily exercise routine, which is something that was severely lacking for the last three months. Since my sister's September 21 stroke, I have not made myself a priority. My sister was number one on my radar. I fell into second place.
I read my last post and actually laughed out loud. I was really in the spirit of weight loss the day I posted that entry. Then I went to Fairbanks for a week and got caught up in the circumstances surrounding my sister. Weight loss and my health weren't important anymore.
Then I came down with the flu while in Fairbanks. Right in the middle of my week that was jam-packed with tasks. Somehow I made it through it, after holding up in my hotel room for 24 hours, living off of NyQuil.
Then it was back to work, to a world from where I'd been missing for most of four months. Since I broke my wrist August 6 I've either been out on extended illness leave for my wrist or on PTO for my sister.
I forgot what normal felt like. It's actually kind of nice to sit in my cubicle, in front of my computer and think about something other than my sister's tragedy. Her health and how I'm going to pay her bills, and function as her guardian and conservator have consumed me for the last three months. Stepping back into my real world was nice, but a shock to my system.
The last two weeks I've been exhausted. All I want to do is sleep. I'm not sure if it's the after effects of the flu or post traumatic shock syndrome of dealing with all things related to my sister. It's probably been a combination of both.
I didn't follow Weight Watchers nor did I count calories or track my food. Not even for a single day.
The past week I made it to the gym four times, two 30-minute workouts, one hour and 20-minute workout (Thursday) and yesterday for an hour. I feel my strength and energy coming back, although my left arm is still weak. Three months in a cast has pretty much decimated most of my muscle in my left arm. I still use 15 or 20 pounds on my right arm, but only 10 or 12 pounds on my left arm. Even the lighter weights are a struggle. I guess it'll just take time.
My weight today at home is 183.4. Since I was 184.4 at Weight Watchers four weeks ago, this means I've really gained a pound or two (since I weighed with clothes and after breakfast at Weight Watchers). If you're wondering, I'm going back to Weight Watchers today.
Considering all I've gone through in the last four weeks, there will be no "beating up of Diana" today. If there's one thing I've learned from the last four months, it's don't sweat the small stuff. There's enough big shit to worry about in life without worrying about the minutia.
Two pounds will come off easily, and the other thirty or so will come off too (albeit not quite as easy). I feel back in control of my eating and exercise. I care about what happens to me. I don't want to end up like my sister, stressed out about life, with high blood pressure and having a stroke. Trust me, you really don't want to go there. It's truly a fate worse than death.
I took the information below from www.stroke.org. A family member that talked to my sister at 10 a.m. on the day of my sister's stroke said later that she had slurred speech that morning. Since my sister doesn't drink, this was a definite sign of a stroke. The family member is a trained CNA, and has taken numerous nursing classes. Yet she didn't recognize the slurred speech as a symptom of a stroke. She has expressed great remorse about this, but it doesn't matter now. It's too late for my sister, but maybe this will help someone else.
My sister wasn't taken to the hospital until 10 p.m. that night. Twelve hours after her first sign of having a stroke. This unfortunately sealed her fate to a life of being unable to speak, paralyzed and bedridden. If only she'd been taken to the emergency room that morning, things probably would have turned out so much better.
Please read it and remember it. The most important thing is to remember is get to an emergency room as quickly as possible. Time is critical. There's a drug they can give you that will actually stop the damage from the stroke. It's called a t-PA drip (one of the clot-busting drugs, there are others). The doctors in Fairbanks told me about it, but you have to get it within three hours of the first stroke symptom. It doesn't always work, but it gives you a fighting chance. My sister got to the hospital too late, and it's ruined her life.
Every minute-and-a-half, on average, someone in America suffers a stroke.
Warning Signs of Stroke
Learn the many warning signs of a stroke. Act FAST and CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY at any sign of a stroke.
Use FAST to remember the warning signs:
NOTE THE TIME WHEN ANY SYMPTOMS FIRST APPEAR. If given within three hours of the first symptom, there is an FDA-approved clot-buster medication that may reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke. There are also two other types of stroke treatment available that might help reduce the effects of stroke. Read more about stroke treatment.
Learn as many stroke symptoms as possible so you can recognize stroke as FAST as possible. Click here to download the FAST Wallet Card to keep a reminder of stroke warning signs with you wherever you go!
- 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 trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- SUDDEN severe headache with no known cause.
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you have any of these symptoms