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That Thing Over There

The Ambiguous Yeti

The Hospital
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ambiguous_yeti
If I seem really distracted in this entry, sorry, I have a natural disaster documentary on. LOL
I was in the hospital for 3.5 weeks.
Because my air ambulance ride only took about 40 minutes, and my mom and Aunt driving took about 3 hours, I got there long before them.
The stretcher I was on from the ambulance in Saskatoon worked in the air ambulance,  but when I got to Regina, the ambulance I was transfered too meant I had to change stretchers.  Which meant sliding me from the stretcher in the air ambulance to the stretcher from the other ambulance from the airplane! That was scary because with no control of your body, you can't help, especially if something goes wrong! It got my anxiety up!
And then once the paramedics got me to the hospital in Regina, they used a slider board to get me onto my bed.
The way strokes work is that at first you're very child-like, and I wanted my mom... and of course the nurses couldn't get ahold of her - passenger in a car and her phone was in her purse. She didn't heard it. Strokes also mess with your emotions - so basically I spent a boring few hours, crying on and off. Mom finally came, Auntie Yvonne went back to the house to sleep and then drive home the next morning.
I was very happy/relieved when mom came, but because I had such trouble sleeping (because I move a lot in my sleep and I couldn't move myself) I would wake up everytime I wanted to move, and because of my speech deficit I couldn't explain to mom what I was trying to do - so each time I woke up mom, and she would have to go get a nurse to help me move - I had an IV in my right hand (I also had an IV in my leg in the ICU, and when I was in the ER they installed a shunt in one of my shoulders), I also had my feeding tube in my nose down to my stomach, and I had a catheter in (which I didn't know about until they were moving me from the air ambulance to the other ambulance). Finally the nurse had to give me something to help me sleep,  and on her recommendation I was moved to the ward at the end of the main ward, that only had 4 beds and 2 RN's - instead of 10 beds, 2 LPN's and 1 RN. I was also prescribed a sleeping pill (I say pill but it was a liquid thing at first that they could put into my nose tube along with the medication that stopped the horrible acid reflux/heart burn I was having due to the liquid food they were giving me - it was like hospital grade Ensure which I can't drink, it's too high in protein and dairy products for me).
I think I spent about half my time there, mom came everyday (she was given sometime off work - which is better then me, I am still not able to work, I was covering a Maternity leave and almost done my term when this happened. Luckily my boss and everyone was really understanding, but I did lose my job).
It was here I learned to sit up by myself - those safety rails on the side of hospital beds are really handy for hauling yourself up with! They also took out my catheter here, and started what the nurses called, "bladder training". OMGoddess! So many accidents (because the catheter has stretched out your urethra) you literally cannot hold it! And you have to let someone else wipe you.
I was seeing a Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) about both my speech and my swallow. She moved me to "solid food" - think baby food, but for adults. My nose tube was left in at first, and supplemental feedings were done at night; I was so happy when they finally removed it!!!! There was the provision that if I wasn't eating enough calories, they'd put it back in. As mushy as the food was, I made sure to eat every bite! After my swallow test - they use an x-ray machine and foods mixed with a dye they can see, to make sure food was going into my stomach, not my lungs; my stroke made the flappy thing that covers the lungs when you swallow be slow and lazy - I was able to have a "regular diet", eggs, toast, soup, pasta, that kinda thing. Water and juice were still thicker.
Eventually, when I was sleeping better, they moved me in my own room. Partly because I didn't need the same level of care that the guys who were moved in there needed - the young man who ended up in the bed beside me was there because of an injury by a steel rod hitting his head, and the old man across from me also had a stroke but it had caused diabetes and he was very confused. Like they both had to be tied down, and the old guy hit one of the nurses. It was time for me to move.
My mom came everyday,  my sister and her boys came when they could, one of my former colleagues came Wednesday evenings (she was there for AA), and even one of the mom's of my kids came (she was a nurse in a different ward but she came on her break). My boss couldn't come while I was in the hospital - her mom had died of a brain tumor in the same ward I was in a few weeks before (she did come visit once I was moved to the rehabilitation center).
Oh and my sister's first boyfriend, his current girlfriend, and my oldest nephew came to visit.
The tech guys at mom's work suggested,  and signed out for her, the 10 inch tablet I'm still using (they use them for wheelchair, and handicapped, students). I feel bad, cause I have dropped it twice! I do not drop things!
The hospital has free WiFi, so I was able to watch Netflix.  At first it was all cartoons, the whole going up thing, and then my watching matured as I did.
I was very happy when one of the doctor's from the rehabilitation center came, did her tests, and all I had to do was wait for a bed to open up for me!
They started Physical therapy (PT) - walking, balance; Occupational therapy (OT) - arm and hand strength, as well as hand use; and of course, Speech and Language therapy (SLP), while I was at the hospital,  and continued once I was at the rehabilitation center. Obviously. They added Exercise therapy (ET) while I was at the rehabilitation center, to get all your muscles stronger.
When I was moved into my own room, that was about when mom went back to work, AND that I was seeing double was discovered.
Wheelchair bound I had to go to the Eye Centre where they put a prism on the right lense to help me see. If my eye doesn't continue to improve they're talking about surgery to correct the problem.
-Rhett

ICU : Both what I remember and what I was told
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ambiguous_yeti
I added LJ to the tablet I'm using so maybe I'll actually update this more often!
Okie dokie!  I'll do cuts but I honestly don't think it'll be too long - my mind is kinda all over the place, and I tend to remember things after I'm done typing. LOL
What I RememberCollapse )
Things I Was ToldCollapse )
The joys of the ICU.
-Rhett

The Beginning: Things I don't remember but was told
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ambiguous_yeti
First off I want to apologize if my entries are kinda disjointed, I have a hard time at the moment organizing my thoughts.

Okay, to the entry!

Apparently my mom had to call 911 twice - they told her to call back if anything changed, and I guess I told her my body was going numb.

Because the house is small and oddly situated inside the EMT's couldn't bring the stretcher in here, so they had to take me out on a back board.

My nephew, who was 3 1/2 at the time (he just turned 4), grabbed himself a banana for breakfast and sat at the desk and coloured, staying out of the EMT's way.

The ambulance was outside for almost an hour while they stabilized me. Because my windpipe and lungs were going weak I wasn't able to breathe normally, so they did a breathing tube and an oxygen mask in the ambulance - it would been done inside but they didn't want to scare Eddie (who they thought was my son).

My mom called my sister to see if they could come get Eddie, is was Christine's boyfriends idea that mom drop Eddie off at their house and then take Christine with her to the hospital. He had a much cooler head.

My mom and sister were taken into the family room at the hospital - the room where they tell you your loved one has died. They had a Social Worker with them - I learned later that they are really good at explaining what is happening.

They gave me medications to knock me out completely - this is when they removed all my jewelry and clothes. This was so they could do an MRI and CT scan - no metal in the machine.

By the time they figured out I was having a stroke, it was too late to administer the clot busting drug that can stop a stroke.

Since I was out STARS came to take me to Saskatoon, by air, because Saskatoon has much better equipment.

My Aunt Yvonne, from Manitoba, drove out to meet mom, and then they drove to Saskatoon together. My Grandma flew out from B.C. while I was in the ICU.

By the time my mom and Aunt got to Saskatoon (it's a 3 hour drive) I had already had the surgery and had been moved to the ICU.

The neurosurgeon who did my surgery told mom she did try to wake me up, but I was confused and couldn't talk and she was worried I was "locked in" (brain okay but not able to talk) so she put me back under to let me wake up on my own.

And the next entry will be about my ICU experience!

-Rhett

The Beginning
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ambiguous_yeti
On May 17, 2015 I had an ischemic stroke. I woke up on Sunday with a headache, I cracked my neck a couple times, which sometimes works when I have a headache, and I didn't want one because my nephew - Edison - was visiting. Alas, it didn't work, and I ran out of my room to the bathroom, to be sick - multiple times.

I had been awake before then since in the other bedroom my mom (whom I live with again) and Eddie were up and talking about what they were going to do that day, and of course as soon as I was "up" Eddie tried to join me in the bathroom, mom - who'd gotten out of bed when Eddie tried to join me - told him Auntie wasn't feeling well and to come out of the bathroom.

By this time I knew something was wrong, and I told mom as much. Her idea was to go to the ER at the local hospital, I didn't know at the time I couldn't stand I managed to tell mom to just call 911. By this point my head was resting on the toilet paper and its holder, this was because the muscles in the right side of my neck were no longer working and my voice was starting to slur.

Mom called 911, and by the time the EMT's got there (7 minutes or so) the only thing that was holding me in a sitting position (we had put a step stool in the bathroom so Eddie could use the bathroom) was my left hand on the toilet bowl.

I was able to answer the EMT who came into the bathroom, until they moved me - then I could no longer talk. And my windpipe started to get weak, they didn't put a tube in my throat until they had me in the ambulance - so as not to scare Eddie.

A grand total of 3 EMT's came to my house, and they had to call to bypass the local hospital because STARS (the helicopter ambulance) couldn't come out due to a weather warning. The ride to the nearest big city was done by ground ambulance, and I don't remember a lot of it, as I was in and out if consciousness.

The EMT's did have to stop in a bigger town to pick up a paramedic - she told the EMT's to give me Gravol because I was still throwing up.

When they got to the General Hospital all I remember is ceiling's. They got in to the ER, and I remember being turned on my side, and then everything goes black.

Apparently they took off my pj's, took out my piercings, and did an MRI at the General where they figured out it was a stroke.

I was then airlifted to Saskatoon by STARS where they did another MRI (they have better equipment) and a neurosurgeon went up my femoral artery in my groin to stuck the clot out of my brain.

Pictures x3Collapse )

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