By definition, a lot of people who have had strokes have cognitive problems. So it worries me that when I do my daily stint in Hospital Number 3 – aka the vampire palace – I have to correct what they’re doing to me, or remind them to get on with it. On Tues (first day) I had to refuse to be stuck with drugs not in my pack and make them ring my doctor to correct the orders. On Wed I explained it was Clexane but no blood, when they thought it was the other way around (I traded in the end. I gave them unnecessary blood in return for their phone call to check about the shot. I wouldn’t mind, but it’s the Clexane that’s making it impossible for another stroke to happen right now!!!). Today I just had to remind them in ‘trolleys’ (the dept where they take the blood), after an hour of them chatting to each other about the layout of the beds, that if they could take 3 minutes to take blood, I could get out of their way. So tell me this… what happens when someone who’s not so aware (i.e. the other 99%) comes in and simply does what they are told????? Ok, rant over. Other than this they’ve all been really great!
[Oh, you’ve asked two things: 1. what’s a “vertebral dissection”? an answer is here and summary of that is an “increasingly recognized cause of stroke in patients younger than 45 years… associated with 10% mortality rate in the acute phase… those who survive the initial crisis (i.e. 90%!!!) do remarkably well, with long-term sequelae rare” and, 2. what is my NRI? a normal NRI is about 1. They are looking to get mine to between 2-3 using warfarin, which will mean my blood is sufficiently weaker than yours. Today it was at 1.2 so I continue with the daily clexane jabs which keep me covered until the warfarin does its thing and kicks me into the right zone.]
So. I was warned there would come a day when it felt like I hadn’t made any progress. Today was almost that day. I had to wait ages at the vampire palace, and then my arm wasn’t giving up any blood. I’ve got little veins so this has been a recurring problem. After being stuck 5 or 6 times on a couple of occasions, a brilliant nurse (Lisa) told me I should take charge and say they could only use places I know gives up blood the first time. Unfortunately, even that failed today but, instead of sticking me again, this doc decided to just wiggle the needle around til he struck a vessel! (Top tip: nurses are much better than this than docs so reject them in favour of a nurse wherever possible!). I was following this with a visit back to the ward to see a friend who happens to be a doctor on it (though she was on a course while I was residence). On the way I had my first dizzy/nauseous spell in days, and ended up sitting on the floor in the corridor for a few minutes while it passed. But it did, and I believe it had a lot more to do waiting around and the clumsy blood taking skills inflicted on me than the injury in my brain!
Following a couple of hours sleep, this afternoon was a LOT more exciting. Having not been able to venture past the end of the street I’ve also been also desperate to do something ‘normal’ again, and wanted to visit my local pub. I’ve been warned that being in busy or loud places might be a bit overwhelming for a while and to pick quiet places, and my local in the daytime fits the bill. I’ve also been keen to get outside, but I’m aware it’d be a dumb move to go on my own quite yet. So, during a fab visit from the Property Boys (Dave & Steve) we went a-wandering to the local and were later joined by Jonno. I know Dave was worrying the whole time (!!) so thanks to all three of them for indulging me on this one, and for the arms there and back. I’m so glad I got to have my first half with you three: doing something completely normal for the first time was so entirely good for the soul that I can’t really explain it!
The very best bit of the day, however, as you may have gathered by now, is always the bit that made me laugh most, and today Jonno is responsible. Upon leaving my house he gave me a hug and said, “It’s been really good to see you. I’m glad you’re not a veg.”