The last 2 days include a very interesting sequence of events. Interesting to say the least. The reason I share the following is because I cannot get to each one of you individually. I have told my story to many family members and it has progressively gotten shorter, leaving out some details to give people the gist of it. I am going to do my best to be as detailed as possible while trying to not make this post a novel. Also, in case anyone ever feels any of the symptoms I felt. Please don’t wait until someone forces you to the hospital. Please make the right decision to take care of yourself in time to make a difference in your future. In time to see another day as the person you are instead of a part of you or not at all.
Just imagine me telling you the following over a cup of tea, or better yet, over a nice big bowl of ice cream. You know, because it’s summer.
Thursday night, around 11 pm, I jumped into the shower where I noticed an odd sensation on the left side of my neck from the base of my hairline to the middle of my top shoulder muscle. It felt like a reaction to a bee sting or some type of skin rash. I felt a subtle burning and stinging sensation that occasionally shot up to the left side of my head and down my left arm. I thought it might be a pinched nerve or a knotted muscle that was causing the discomfort, but then there was also the thought of it being an aneurysm or the beginning of a stroke.
Getting out of the shower, I informed Josh about what I was feeling in case I happened to collapse. In case something did happen to me, I wanted there to be an already established symptom with Josh instead of me passing out and Josh not knowing why that happened. I was not in pain, but I did continue feeling the rash-like discomfort in my neck area. The discomfort didn’t progress, so I eventually went to bed thinking nothing of it.
The next morning, I woke up and went to work as usual. Leaving work, walking to my car, I noticed that same neck discomfort had returned. I took note of it, but continued on with my day as usual. I came home to walk Alvin, went to my mom’s to pick up Little Nugget, and then we headed over to pick up Josh at work (his car is currently out of commission). By the time we got to Josh, my left eye had started closing and my left arm and leg were starting to feel limp. The left side of my body had started to loose its strength. Josh asked me if I was alright, and as stubborn as I am, I said I was fine, attempting to hide what I was really feeling. When we got home, I was trying my hardest to fight off the loss of strength, almost as if I was subconsciously in denial of what was happening.
It was around 7:30 pm when Josh noticed the left side of my body getting worse and decided to take me to the hospital. At that point, I couldn’t contradict his decision because my speech had begun to slur and my left leg had begun to bend inward. There was no denying that something serious was happening to me.
We are blessed to live less than five minutes from Providence Hospital in Tarzana because we made it to the emergency room faster than an ambulance would’ve taken to get to me. We are blessed that my mom lives ten minutes from us because she was able to pick up Little Nugget from the emergency room so Josh could focus on being present for me.
I was admitted to the ER immediately. A chest x-ray and a CT scan were done, blood and urine samples were taken, and the best nurse and doctor in the ER attended me. Slowly my speech came back and the left side of my body began to respond again. By 11 pm, I was taken out of the ER to my own room, but that was short lived because I began to feel the original symptoms all over again. Before I was transferred from my first room to yet another room in the direct observation unit (DOU), I was taken for an additional CT scan. There were numerous blood samples taken and motor skill evaluations done throughout the night. Josh and I got very little sleep that night. Saturday morning I had my MRI and additional evaluations were done by my nurse and a physical therapist. By Saturday afternoon, all my test results were in and the diagnosis was delivered.
Test results: all positive. I am as healthy as can be.
The diagnosis: a transient ischemic attack (TIA) also known as a “mini-stroke” that in my case was caused by a spasm in an artery of my brain. The following is an explanation of a TIA found in the patient education guide given to me by my nurse upon discharge:
“A TIA is a brief episode of stroke symptoms resulting from temporary interruptions of blood flow to the brain. TIAs can last anywhere from a few seconds to 24 hours. Unlike actual strokes, TIAs do not kill brain cells and therefore do not result in permanent brain damage. However, they can be a warning sign of a future stroke. Symptoms of a transient ischemic attack:
- Sudden numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination”
A big thank you to my ER nurse, Ivan, who helped keep my spirits up and gave me excellent care. Dr Holtz who was the medical cheerleader I needed. My DOU nurse, Elizabeth, who was gentle, sweet, and an excellent attendant. Dr. Zakariaei who took my age and health into consideration, and who presented me with all the information I needed to know leaving me with no questions only confidence.
A deep heartfelt thank you goes out to:
The love of my life who never left my side. My momma who didn’t question having to watch Little Nugget overnight for a couple of nights. My sister, big brother, and brother-in-law who were there by my side in a heartbeat. My mother-in-law, Nora, and sister-in-law who drove out from Orange County early in the morning to be there for Josh and I. My uncles who came to keep me company and make me laugh at the hospital. All of my family and friends who prayed and worried for me. Thank you all for your love, support, and positive vibes!
I am currently home resting, taking it easy. I look forward to having things back to normal. I look forward to running around with Little Nugget. I look forward to this never happening again!
Cheers to being healthy and having all the love and support one can ever ask for!