I had a very exciting birthday last week. And it wasn’t because we had a party! Around lunch I began to have similar issues as I did the previous week, when I had a stroke. My head felt fuzzy/weird, kind of like I was light headed but knew that wasn’t it. My right arm felt weak and floppy, but I could use it and everything was balanced to my left. I was scared out of my mind. Of course, we had gotten so much snow and the roads were terrible so we called 911 and an ambulance came for me. I felt badly and didn’t want to leave but my doctor wasn’t in his office due to the weather so we really had no other choice. I had to leave my mom and Little One, who was doing a good job of being brave and stayed next to me, comforting me and rubbing my arm while the EMTs were here. My mom told her I got a ride in the big red truck for my birthday, so she seemed relieved.
While it sucked going to the Emergency Room on my birthday, I did meet an excellent ER doctor who questioned why I hadn’t seen a neurologist before my doctors decided to perform heart surgery on me. What he said made sense, let’s make sure this stroke was really heart related and not otherwise related. So I got a new MRI, some bloodwork and then they sent me off to a larger hospital in the region, Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA. I must commend the local hospital, Evangelical Community hospital, for all of their kindness, helpfulness, and efficiency in all of my emergency matters. All the tests and results were run STAT and everyone was very kind to welcome me to the area and were genuinely concerned with my well being. I know for a lot of the nurses who were around my age that it really hit home that even healthy young people can have random scary health matters.
At Geisinger I had a bunch of tests performed, like an MR Angiogram, leg ultrasound, TEE, on top of a ton of coagulate tests done on my blood. My neurologist and his team of residents took good care of me and the nurses on my floor were awesome. I was excited to be the “easiest” patient on the floor for them. After 2 and a half days at Geisinger, my doctor was ready to send me home. He said that because of my genetic pre-disposition along with prolonged sitting with all the driving I’ve done over the last couple of weeks, I developed a blood clot in my leg. While most people would have discomfort and their clot would either dissipate on its own or with help from some medication, because I have the PFO (genetic heart defect), my clot could pass into the other chamber and onto my brain. There it got stuck in my occipital nerve and messed up my vision. We can close up the hole in my heart, and I have a consult later in the month to talk to the cardiologist about that surgery, but I still run a risk of the clot ending up somewhere else, like my lungs. So I am on aspirin and Plavix now, along with Lipitor, to keep my blood thinned out so I don’t keep making clots. I am not allowed to drive for at least 6 months, depending on how my vision returns. Unfortunately with strokes, unless you catch them super early they end up killing brain cells. I am just lucky enough that I was not paralyzed or worse, and just have to deal with the eye issues.
I continue to have follow up appointments with the neurologist, opthamologist and the cardiologist. I am hopeful that there are resources in my area for low vision deficits along with some kind of exercises I can do to regain my sight or at least some of it.