I started not to even post about this situation because I’m not really sure what the deal is, exactly. That being said, anything with lights, sirens and paramedics is quite an exciting event and probably deserves at least a little attention.
The short version is a couple of days ago I got transported via ambulance to the hospital emergency room with stroke symptoms — suddenly couldn’t communicate, had severe coordination/walking issues, etc. although I didn’t have the facial or body weakness.
Even after the extensive battery of tests they’re not 100% sure of what’s going on. The good new is, they know, definitely, that it wasn’t a stroke because there is no brain damage. They think it might be a transient ischemic attack (TIA) which is like a mini-stroke, but is a temporary situation and doesn’t cause brain damage. My ER doctors compared a TIA to a stroke like chest pains to a heart attack. A TIA isn’t a stroke (just like chest pains aren’t a heart attack) — but it’s an indication that a stroke might be on the way (like chest pains may point to an impending heart attack). The reason they’re not sure is that I was still having symptoms (difficulty speaking) when they were doing the imaging and nothing showed up. They should have seen something if I were in the middle of a TIA when they were looking at my brain.
After hours of being poked and prodded and scanned, all my bits were working again so they gave me the option of staying overnight for more of the same, or going home and perhaps doing some follow-on outpatient stuff. I went home and slept in my own bed, none the worse for wear except being bruised from fingers to armpits on both arms from them trying to find a vein.
But it was really weird. I’m used to pain being a signal that something is wrong — like RA hurts when it’s eating your joints. But I just started feeling weird out of the blue. In the middle of typing an email I got lightheaded, suddenly couldn’t type, and had blurry vision. Then I discovered severe issues trying to walk and talk. I described it as being feeling like I was really falling down drunk (not that I’ve ever been there — a friend told me …). Fortunately, my husband called 911 and, since we’re literally within walking distance of the fire station/paramedics, they were here momentarily and off we went. Helpful hint: if you’re a hard stick, don’t let them try to start an IV while you’re dodging your way through traffic.
I wasn’t ever really scared, I just thought it was really weird. I’m still not terribly concerned (although I probably should be). My husband is freaked because he’s been reading all the dire warnings on the internet. (Second helpful hint: don’t freak out over stuff you read online.) But I do now have to set up a plethora of follow-up visits with my PCP and a new neurologist.
What can I say? I feel fine. They didn’t really find anything wrong. Imaging and labs all say I’ll live forever. I’m back to my normal chaos without really being worse for wear. But now I can check riding in an ambulance off my list of things to do. It really was quite exciting.
Hope your life is as calm or exciting as you’d like. Thanks for checking in.