Last week I read an article by Orson Scott Card. He is one of my favorite authors. He mentioned that he'd suffered from a stroke recently, which really surprised me. He's not that old. But neither am I, and I had a stroke a few years ago.
Strokes can happen to anyone.
There are many signs of stroke. Mine wasn't your typical slurred speech and side numbness. Let me tell you what happened.
Hubby and I had gone to Idaho for a family gathering. We were staying at my sister's place. We visited with her and her daughter for a while in the dinning room and then decided to move into the living room. As I sat down, I suddenly became confused. I didn't know if we were going somewhere or what, so I grabbed a gardening book next to her couch and concentrated on it. Most everyone else was watching TV, but I couldn't even follow the storyline of the show they were watching, which was very frightening. I was scared, but I didn't dare tell anyone. I was relieved when it came time to go to bed. I was hopeful that with a good night's sleep I'd wake up to find I was back to normal.
The next day I felt great. I was helping my sister cook. We were talking and joking around. All at once she looked at me and said, "You told me that last night. Don't you remember?" I had no recollection of what we'd talked about the night before. You have to know that my mother suffered with severe dementia at the time, so I was scared that for some reason I was having the early stages of Alzheimer's. I wasn't that old, but still the fear was with me. I quickly grew very quiet. The rest of the family arrived, but I still didn't say much because I was afraid of repeating myself. My younger brother noticed I wasn't talking much and cornered me, wanting to know what was wrong. I gave him a lame excuse, but made a mental note that as soon as I returned home I was going to make an appointment with my doctor.
When I went to see Dr. Baker, I really felt silly because I was fine. As soon as I told him what happened, he made an appointment for me to have an MRI. They found I'd had a stroke. This was the beginning of many doctor appointments with one specialists after another. I eventually learned that my stroke was caused by a hole in my heart and that I'd had that hole since I was a baby.
Did you know that everyone is born with a hole in their heart? It's true. Most of the time that hole closes, but for some people, like me, it doesn't. In my case, the hole triggered a stroke. A heart specialist implanted an atrial septal device in my heart. It's like a little umbrella that plugs the hole. That was many years ago.
Since a stroke like mine can happen to anyone, I thought you might like to know the signs of stroke.
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden, severe headache with no know cause.
For more information on stroke or heart problems visit the American Heart and American Stroke Associations for more information by clicking here.