Three weeks ago I woke up from a procedure that saved my life. The dramatic turn of events that Thursday 27th of October can be found on my previous post about my stroke. I had previously been very healthy with normal blood pressure, bloods all good, normal weight, non smoker and only been to hospital to have our 2 kids plus my tonsils came out early this year. This probably contributed to me brushing off my symptoms that morning, even though I did poke my tongue out and check my face to make sure I wasn’t having a stroke! When I woke after the endovascular clot retrieval to remove the clot in my basilar artery I was amazed and so happy to have my full function back!
I was very groggy from being under general anaesthetic as I was wheeled to the stroke ward at Royal Melbourne Hospital. I had briefly seen my family who were unbelieving that I was talking already, there’s even a video of me showing I could talk again! It was quite a blur of observations for the next couple of hours while I settled into my 2 bed room. Such a busy place the ward but so many amazing nurses. I finally got to see my amazing husband at 8pm that night. Dad picked him up from Melbourne Airport and was quite shocked that I was talking away. He had a very quick trip from the middle of the desert to a flight leaving back to Adelaide. The wait at Adelaide Airport to fly to Melbourne wasn’t that long but he said it felt like it took forever.
He was so relieved and couldn’t believe that his healthy wife who he had spoken to the night before on the phone was laying in a hospital bed after suffering a stroke. I was quite tired after such a big day so he left me to sleep and get some rest himself. I woke about midnight with more observations and the rest of the night was very long. I had nothing with me, no glasses, no phone and I was hooked up to monitors and drips. The clock didn’t even work in the room! It was so hard to get comfortable and all the while my mind was racing with the what ifs. The fluid they had going through me had me on the pan every couple of hours, so much fun!
Daylight finally arrived and Friday was filled with seeing doctors, MRI’s, chest x-rays, visitor, flowers arriving and going for a brief walk with the physios. It was wonderful when I had a shower sitting on the shower chair as I was still a little bit unsteady. All the firsts came with happy tears that I could do it again. I was quite scared of moving my neck too much as I still had the area in my right vertebral artery which was dissected. The doctors were more than happy for me to get up and sit so I tried as much as I could. That night Jed bought my beloved phone and glasses to me! Along with my clothes and toiletries I started to feel human again. I was still very tired but sleep that Friday night was hard to come by as I was still fasting and being monitored.
I was excited to wake on the Saturday morning as I was going to see the speech pathologist so I could hopefully eat again! Amazingly she was a girl that I knew years ago from Hamilton and it was so lovely to see her and she let me eat! One of the wonderful nurses also sat down and explained everything to us about the process that would happen with the stroke booklet. It was actually really good to talk things through even if there were a few tears. To say I was shattered to miss my sisters hens party that day would be an understatement. It was such a lovely day and here I was laying in a hospital bed. Only thing I was happy about was no hangover the next day!
Eating again helped me regain my strength and more time was spent in the chair out of bed. We even managed a couple of laps of the ward where I could see what was around me. I could see many very sick patients that had a long way to go and I felt so appreciative that it wasn’t me. They also took the monitors off Saturday afternoon as my heart was looking good so I was free on Saturday night, except for my leg massages, to have as much sleep as I could on a stroke ward. Sunday morning I was able to go downstairs and get a coffee with hubby. This was quite emotional walk down stairs, just to do something normal after only 3 days was quite a miracle.
After I returned to the ward and the physio had seen me they let me know I could go home that day. I was so happy to hear this and as I had full range of movement back I didn’t need rehabilitation. Lucky me! So I left hospital with directions to take 1 aspirin per day and to rest. I was so happy to come home on the Sunday night. The kids weren’t there yet but it was lovely to enjoy time with Jed and our very clean house after my cleaning fairies had been! That first night sleep back at home was the best, both emotional and happy at the same time. Seeing the kids when they arrived home on the Monday from Bendigo was fantastic. They hadn’t even noticed that anything had gone on but Charlotte was aware that I had been sick. Her first question was if the hospital had icecream and jelly like the time that she had her tonsils out! Oh kids, bless their hearts always so funny :-)
The next couple of weeks have been spent resting at home and enjoying the delicious food that friends and family have delivered. There has been quite a few appointments that hubby has had to drive me to has I can’t drive for 4 weeks. I’ve seen the GP, physician for an ultrasond of the heart, physiotherapist and occupational therapist. I have ventured back to work for a visit and seeing where everything occurred that Thursday was something that I needed to do. It was quite an emotional moment but was so lovely to see all the staff again. I have an appointment to see my neurointerventionalist at the end of January and will be seeing a psychologist as at times I can become quite teary with getting my head around what has occurred.
I am feeling so well and have no lasting effects from the clot. I still have a bruise on my right groin which is slowly fading. I was lucky to be able to attend my sisters wedding, something that only 2 weeks ago seemed impossible. I am more grateful for life than I have ever been before and so thankful for our medical care here in Victoria, Australia. For all of the dramas that I have gone through it’s only cost me $3 for a pack of aspirin. We have ambulance cover and as I was admitted as a public patient to a public hospital it has all been covered. There is no way that I can ever express my gratitude to my family and friends for all that they did. Knowing the kids were looked after was a huge relief and having such amazing people around us will never be forgotten.