Transient Ischemic Attack?

I’m still recovering from what happened a week ago.

The excitement started late Thursday evening, August 2.

A small patch on my tongue’s underside went numb, as if I’d had Novocain/procaine. I mentioned the sensation — lack of sensation, actually — to my wife.

Maybe an hour later it was still numb. My wife said I should call the town’s emergency room. Feeling a bit silly, I followed her advice.

“She opens her mouth in wisdom;
kindly instruction is on her tongue.”
(Proverbs 31:26)

Listening to my wife isn’t, I think, the beginning of wisdom; but it’s pretty high on the list. Speaking of which — Proverbs 9:10 doesn’t say I should be scared of God, and that’s another topic. (February 4, 2018)

Good News and Uncertainty

Folks at Sauk Centre’s emergency room told me that what I was experiencing might be a stroke, or something else.

It wasn’t reassuring, but I wasn’t surprised.

My age, known physical issues and otherwise-unaccountable loss of sensation made a stroke likely enough.

They put my head into a CT scanner, but didn’t find signs of bleeding in my brain. That was good news. It eliminated at least one possible scenario. Maybe.

Bleeding hadn’t happened. Probably. Or maybe it wasn’t serious enough to show up on a CT scan.

More good news was that the numbness was decreasing. A little. Gradually. But it was still in progress. That was around midnight.

The next step was to get an MRI scan done. It would show damage that a CT scan wouldn’t. The closest MRI machine is about an hour down the road, in St. Cloud. They loaded me into an ambulance.

More Good News, and More Uncertainty

The ambulance folks took me to St. Cloud Hospital. It was around 1:00 a.m. by then.

Folks at St. Cloud assigned me to a room six floors up, near the south end. Ideally, I’d have gone directly into the MRI, or at least to where they work with brain glitches.

That didn’t happen. They told me I was in the ‘broken bones’ area. Its actual name sounds much more official, but means pretty much the same thing. It was, I gathered, a very busy Thursday night. Friday morning, actually.

My memories of the next several hours are clear enough, but not particularly linear. My sense of time is flexible at best, and not improved by stress and inadequate sleep.

My turn in the MRI came, I slept a few hours — probably — and enjoyed at least one meal. Not necessarily in that order.

I got very good news Friday afternoon. I hadn’t had a stroke Thursday night. Not the sort that ends with dead neurons and lost functions.

Whatever happened left no physical trace and did no permanent damage. Probably. Nothing detectable with CT and MRI scans, at any rate.

It might have been a TIA, transient ischemic attack.1 Or something else. Whether or not a TIA is a sort of stroke depends partly on who you’re listening to.

TIA is what medicos call a temporary loss of fresh blood in part of the brain, spinal cord or retina. The affected area shuts down, but the cells don’t die. Not if the blood supply comes back fast enough.

Which may have happened with me. Or, like I said, maybe whatever happened was something else. TIA is, apparently, among the least-unlikely explanations.

It’s Good to be Back

Folks at St. Cloud gave me good advice, most of which I was already doing to deal with my weight and other health issues.

They told me I could go home Friday afternoon. My father-in-law picked me up an hour or so later.

I haven’t caught up on sleep yet, but I’m under the family’s roof. It’s good to be back. That’s good, no matter what shape I’m in.

Getting an uninterrupted night’s sleep hasn’t happened. Partly, I suspect, because of stress.

Monday, around midday, I realized that I’d been feeling very apprehensive.

I still am. It’s probably just as well that something had been diverting and storing those feelings during the weekend’s events. My part in the proceedings was mostly waiting and answering questions, which wasn’t all that demanding. Even so, being clear-minded helped. A lot.

Now that the immediate pressure’s off, the angst is getting released in small portions. And occasionally not-so-small chunks. That may explain a nightmare I had last night. Unpleasant, very.

Still Working

I’ve got more to say about my experience and what we’re learning about the human brain. Quite a bit more. But that will wait until another day.

Right now, I’m glad to be back home and feeling slightly less tired each day.

The extreme fatigue and mental fuzziness I’ve been experiencing might worry me, if I had expected to be back to normal right away. I didn’t.

Just being kept up nearly all of Thursday night could have had me feeling this way. Add stress, and I’m happy with a slow but steady pace. I’m not a 40 year old kid any more. Bouncing back from that ‘up all night’ experience and excessively exciting two days will take time.

I’m also glad, delighted, that I apparently haven’t lost any major functions. I’ve been making a point of doing some writing, some graphics stuff, reading and so on. Pretty much every activity I do more or less regularly.

I had to rewrite the few lines I squeezed out, the graphics were uninspired at best — and about what I’d expect while being this short on sleep. That’s good news.

So is thinking that I may eventually catch up on sleep. And not go through a replay of last night’s terrifying dream.

Or maybe my current low-energy state is the new normal.

Whatever happens, I figure tomorrow will be different than today; except for what’s the same. And this world will still be fascinating:

1 More than you may want to know about:

About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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1 Response to Transient Ischemic Attack?

  1. mseagrif says:

    Praying for your quick and full recovery.

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