My wife had a call into our family doctor which Connie I both saw as our doctor. He called back and she told him my symptoms. He was very troubled about what could cause me to have difficulty talking. I do not if she told me what he said. Probably, he told her to check me for the signs of a stroke. The FAST acronym. Now there are fifth and sixth letters; E (eyes) and R (react). So it is FASTER, but I only had one of the signs; trouble with speaking.
There are six warning signs of stroke, but having people focus on time is included in the acronym FASTER:
· Face – a drooping or numbness of one side of the face
· Arm – sudden onset of weakness or numbness on one side of the body or cannot lift one arm above the person’s head
· Stability – dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, or trouble walking
· Talking – sudden speech difficulty, slurring words, or cannot repeat a simple phrase back
· Eyes – sudden difficulty seeing in one or both eyes or having double vision
· React – call 911 and move quickly. Get to the hospital. Attempt to remember when the signs started
· Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
I imagine she looked for the drooping of my face and made sure I could lift both of my arms above my head. I was having a headache, but it was day 3 or 4 of a migraine. I have had migraines that would last three to five days since I was in high school. I didn’t think of it as unusual.
I don’t remember too much of the evening since I got home from the library to the time we were on our way to the hospital. She had worked hard to convince me to go to the emergency room at one of our local hospitals. I reluctantly agreed. I rode in the front passenger seat. In 2010, cell phones got pseudo-smart. I had a Blackberry and I sent an email from my cellphone to my partners, managers, and my assistant. I thought that I made clear what my situation was. What I didn’t realize was that my email was gibberish. I had stuck my hand into a bee’s nest with the people who got my email.
In hindsight, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference if Connie had called 911. She drives fast (but safe) and we got to the emergency department swiftly. Over the next three hours, I was about to learn that I had a stroke!
To be continued in a later blog. Please leave your comments!