||[Mar. 4th, 2008|10:48 pm]
|||||Couch at home||]|
|||||Charlotte biting my feet||]|
My father's in the hospital as I type this. He's had a stroke, and while it hit him relatively mildly as far as strokes can go, it's taken his speech output and the fine motor-function use of his right hand and foot.
He can still understand everything that's said to him and around him, as witness his ability to laugh at complicated jokes, and he's already begun a determined effort to physically rehabilitate himself, moving his leg up and down with a grim effort.
His ability to speak in complex sentences waxes and wanes: the idiot excuse for a doctor at the hospital says that he may have a sort of "wavery" partial recovery.
Why is the doctor at the hospital an idiot? Well, there's a treatment called TPA that has a chance of helping stroke victims recover from strokes if applied withing three hours of the event. When we called the ambulance, dad was having a Transient Ischemic Attack, which is a sort of precursor to a stroke: reduced blood flow, but not fully interrupted. He was aphasic, but still able to walk, if shakily. The woman on the ambulance noticed his stroke-symptoms came on AS they were taking him to the hospital, that he'd lost strength in his right arm progressively during the ride, and reported same to the doctors and nurses at the hospital.
The doctors at the hospital decided to date the event of dad's stroke from the time mom had last seen him with full use of speech: 10:15, rather than 11:45, after the ambulance had been called, but before he actually had a full-on stroke. We tried to get them to give him the TPA treatment, but the nurse on duty decreed that it was too late, even though three hours from even his more conservative time had not yet elapsed. He wanted to be darned good and sure dad had had an actual STROKE before applying TPA. When we asked why, he said that there was a 7% chance of bleeding in the brain if it had NOT been a normal clot-based stroke.
I asked dad if he wanted to risk it, the seven percent chance of quick death versus a possible but not guaranteed fix for some damaged tissue in his brain: he nodded and made affirmative noises much like frankenstein's monster. This apparently does not qualify as informed consent under Florida law.
So they rush him off for the CT scan. Bring him back. No sign of stroke. So they rush him off for an MRI. THAT shows the stroke. By this time, dad's regaining some use of his hand again, and is able to answer questions with one-word answers. He even tells the doctor that his pain and strange sensation started in his leg. At this point, Idiot Doctor tells us that "spontaneous improvement (Dad talking and pointing to his foot) contraindicates use of TPA, and anyways, we're WAY out of the time limit for it" as gauged from when my mom last saw him, not as based on when he was brought in, and the timing of the event whereby his right freaking side stopped working.
So dad goes through a bit of time where he's unable to speak (still understands English fine, just can't speak it) and I talk to the doctor, worriedly. This is when he tells me that Dad's recovery will likely be "wavery" as in have its ups and downs. He improves enough to talk with the neurologist when he comes in: the neurologist chews him out for not taking his plavix (which dad had stopped taking because it made him feel as if he'd prefer to be dead, so can't blame him there) or aspirin which, okay, maybe having easily-ruptured skin due to aspirin usage isn't as much of a downside as having a stroke, but jesus, water under the bridge, Doc!
Neuro tells us that dad will not have a complete recovery, but he will recover some. They put him on an Aspirin and vasodilating med called Agranox to keep his blood pressure elevated to some optimum post-stroke level to keep the blood flowing properly through his brain as best they can without kicking more clots loose.
So he's still down in the emergency room now, waiting for a bed in the Progressive Care Unit. Christian drove over from Tallahassee when I told him, and is watching him now. He'll be calling me when there's news, and he let me and mom go home to rest for a little while.
Heh... Mom was offering to help him cut up his dinner: "Do you want help, Jim? Do you want me to help you?"
"Do you want me to help you?"
I interrupt. "No mom, he clearly doesn't want any help. Doesn't change the fact that he may need some help, however" which sets Dad to laughing and smiling at me with his eyes. Mom laughs too, and he lets her have the knife to saw up his chicken so he can spear it with his fully dexterous left hand.
Thank god he's not useless with his off hand, like my mom and brother are.
I am so freaking worried about and for him.
EDIT AS OF MIDNIGHT
He's back to speaking with his normal fluence and competence. No telling about his motor skills, but he's talking again, in his normal overwhelmingly prolix manner.