Sep 30
bgb , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

TIA almost missed

This may help others recognize the subtle signs! Sept. 1, a few weeks ago, I checked in to the ER and ended up staying overnight. More tests were done the next morning to find my very small TIA. I almost didn’t seek out any care, and  it took a lot of looking to find my TIA.  I am thankful for my good condition and must learn more.
I almost missed it myself, and imagine that others could also!  But this is the warning that a stroke could be on its way!  I'm in my late 60's, fairly active, too heavy for my height, have very high cholesterol, and traditionally very good BP.  I've never been in the hospital and have no major life threatening diseases.  In the past I've trained in CPR numerous times and learned the signs of stroke/heart attack. So there I was with a slight tingling in my right hand after waking.  Well, must be from how I slept, only it didn't go away.  My next sign was a slight tingling in my right foot.  Now let me say that if you were busy you might not even pay attention to these very mild sensations, because that was my dilemma.  Was this an overblown imagination or what was going on?  Then a very slight numbness came to both my hand and foot. It went away, as did the tingling, but they both returned.  OK.  so, the 4 signs of a stroke were not present, so now what?  I hated to mention it to hubby for fear he convinces me I'm blowing it up.  So I kept my mouth shut.  As the hours went on and they both kept coming back I called the "Ask a Nurse" line that I have access to. That seemed the sensible thing to do.  She was thorough and professional, and decided, based on my description, that it indeed seemed to be a stretch to race into the emergency room since this was not a stroke, but that I should see someone today, quite soon, for a better evaluation.  Since my doctor could not see me until the next day, I went to the local 'clinic.'  I explained all this to hubby and drove off.  After doing vitals and hearing me out, the doctor said I needed an ambulance to take me to the emergency room!  I couldn't believe it!  Well, she explained that only in the hospital do they have the equipment to do the needed tests.  OK.  this is all very new to me, so I get that.  But I can certainly drive!  She said there could be the chance I'm having a stroke therefore not advisable to be commanding a car.  OK.  So hubby can take me, I still can't imagine an ambulance!  I mean after all, to look at me one would think I'm perfectly fine!  I'm not stumbling or have a weird face or cannot speak perfectly normally, nothing, nothing at all to the eye is showing! So that was OK and so we went.  I was suddenly treated as though a condition was present, not like I was making it up, and they were kind and going about ordering whichever tests, and explaining the steps.  I figured I'd be out in no time.  When the doctor finally went over all the tests with me, he said there's one more very important test which cannot be done until the next morning because of the time of day by now.  He said I've had much experience with strokes and I bet this is a stroke, but I cannot confirm that with tests yet.  OK. That's simple, I live very close by, and I can be here whatever time you want.  He said that it doesn't work that way! He can only order the test if I'm a patient here, if I go home it would take about 2 months to schedule it. OK.  So, I'll stay here, much to my dissatisfaction, because you want this test.  That's it, I'll stay. I've never been in the hospital (well, 2 childbirths) and aside from feeling like a prisoner, how bad could it be?  Remember, I'm basically fine and the sensations come and go.  There's absolutely no lingering major symptom.   They have to find food for me because I've missed supper and become like a tiger when I'm hungry.  Hubby stays with me, so I have no bag of supplies as we finally head up to a room. This is when he runs home for only the most basic items, no entertainment items. I managed to fitfully survive the imprisonment with the help of very pleasant staff members!  I do have restless legs which keep me up until the wee hours, so when all was quiet & I needed to start walking, I stood up beside the bed, and a nurse came flying in the room asking if I was OK!  I turned suspiciously and said yes, why are you asking?  She said when I got up an alarm went off at the nurse's station.  I was shocked!  They were spying on me to boot! "What alarm?" I yelled as I started tearing the bed apart! she explained that I could potentially fall and needed to ask for help to get up.  I said I don't need any help and I have restless legs so you guys are going to go nuts over my walking tonight if we don't come to an agreement!  I figured they were at least supplied with the medicine, so I never in a million years expected to bring my own.  Even so, midnight and after are the worst times, and there is no sitting on the bed or resting to be had, much less without medicine, which by this hour seems a major issue!  The nurse gave me permission to walk so down the hall I went.  This was going to get pretty boring, so I asked how far I could go, and they were strict about the doors to our section.  I rather figured one could meander other parts of the hospital within reason. but my monitors would then be out of range.  Oh, for gosh sakes, now I'm stuck in this short corridor, too!  Fortunately I found a visiting room with couches and a TV.  There was also one old magazine, the only reading material on the floor!  Don't these people have the daily news and a selection of magazines at least?  The mag was read within 5 min and I had left the TV.  I rarely watch any TV & don't know much about the stations or programs, but I was very glad to find a music channel with oldies, so I stood and sort of rocked or swayed to the better songs.   That's what I was doing when the first nurse came to the door and found me.  She had first warned me not to get up without calling for help.  I quickly explained that I DID get permission to walk, which of course she knew by then, and she smiled and came in to chat.  Well, that was nice and I learned a few things.  Hubby and I have been healthy & do not know extensive details about conditions, or meds, or sickness.  After that I enjoyed more music until feeling tired enough to hopefully fall asleep. So I did, and was wakened early to head out for tests.  I thought this was great because I could be on my merry way in short order! I didn't even have time to call hubby much less other calls about my activities for the day. Four tests later … now afternoon, and the doctor appears saying they could not find my TIA, then suddenly did find it, a very small occurrence with virtually no brain damage. 
I know that I have the same numbers as others, regardless of ‘minor’ and that is first of all the 20% chance of having a stroke in the first 3 months.
  • kayhpeabody
    I have suffered a major stroke. I had been having warning signs, but didn't recognize them as such. numbness in hand, trouble swallowing,floaters in eyes...since i was a healthy eater, runner, slim physique,had low blood pressure, I never dreamed I would have a stroke. However, my family history leans heavily toward heart and stroke problems. Yet, I thought "never me".
  • Rancharm
    I pray for your continue Al recovery and knowledge of the medical situation. Continue to be a advocate of your health!
  • Hopefully
    Thanks so much for sharing your story. It sounds like you were treated by a very perceptive doctor. If you care to share, could you tell us what tests were run that showed the TIA? I ask because I've been told that TIA's are difficult to diagnose. Thanks again!
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