Friday, March 5, 2010

Grandpa's second stroke

I received a call from Grandma at 5:30 am Nebraska time on Wednesday, March 3, 2010. This is never a good omen, the early early morning phone call . . . and it was NOT good news. Grandpa C had suffered another massive stroke! Grandma told me the paramedics came to their house after Grandpa attempted to get out of bed (at approximately 12:00 am) and basically rolled to the floor and was unable to get up from there. He told Grandma C that he thought he was having another stroke and asked her to call 911. After this, his speech became very garbled. The paramedics did not even attempt to get Grandpa on a stretcher, but rather 4 of them carried him out to the ambulance. He was transported to Boulder City Hospital, then was promptly life flighted to Las Vegas Desert Springs Hospital where there was a stroke team standing by. He had no sensation or function of his entire left side and was unable to speak by this point. Unfortunately, since they could not pinpoint the exact time of the stroke, he was disqualified as a candidate for the clot busting drug TPA, which must be given within a 3 hour window of the onset of the stroke. So basically, there was nothing they could do.

My flight arrived in Las Vegas at 5:30 pm that evening, and Bill & Lois Keller (wonderful wonderful friends of the family) picked me up at the airport and took me directly to the hospital. I arrived to find my father in tears after taking to Jessica. He was so moved that she had called to let them know that she would try to smooth the way for his transfer to a rehab facility after he stabilized. I have never seen such emotion in my Dad.

Over the next several hours, we would see him vastly improve in function and speech. (All of this direct answer to prayer.) But he would also experience a pretty sharp set back when they discovered his heart was in atrial fibrillation. (This is a rhythm that can produce clots that can lodge in the brain and heart and cause more strokes or heart attacks or other ischemic events in the kidneys or bowels.) THIS was really a low blow. And this, they think, may have been the real culprit behind the stroke he had just experienced. They wonder if he has been in this bad heart rhythm off and on for a long time and no one had picked up on it. We won't know this side of eternity.

In the meantime, new docs had to see dad and new drugs had to be started to manage this afib and prevent another stroke. All of this seemed to take an eternity. We thought he would be discharged by 1-2 pm, and he actually left Desert Springs at 7:30 pm. The waiting. My god the waiting and wondering is the WORST. When will the medical community realize that taking 5 minutes to tell the patient what is happening & what the plan is, is critical to their EMOTIONAL HEALTH. Leaving patients in the dark is the WORST possible thing to do. It's borderline abusive in my opinion. To quote a highly respected authority on this: "hospitals can be such ASSHOLES". Truer words have never been spoken! (You know who you are.)

OK, deep breath. Again. BREATHE.

So ultimately he was discharged to Health South Rehabilitation Hospital in Henderson. He was transported by Dennis & Conrad, the drivers for the company, who by the way were ROCKSTARS. Here is a picture of the "stretcher transport" in progress:

He was very happy to get the hell away from the Desert Springs Hospital, thus all the big smiles. It was off to Health South. New, luxurious, friendly and fragrant, rehab facility. However, it was very very late and Grandma and I were in zombie mode by this time. In fact Grandma & I are presently in zombie mode, so it's off to bed for us now. I will post more later.
Thank you everyone for your prayers. (you know who you are!).
Our God is an awesome God.

1 comment:

Dad and Mom said...

Everything you posted was right on. I don't know what I would have done without you being with us at the hospital and again at the rehab hospital. Our hearts are full of love for you in our hour of need. Thank you so much, Honey. We love you!!!