Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Left Brain, Right Brain, What Brain?

I always knew it could happen. In fact, I expected it. A stroke, that is.

I had a stroke.

Yes, this is really my brain. William says it looks like Cookie Monster!
 
Heart attacks and strokes are in my blood, literally. Both of my parents had heart disease. A heart attack killed Dad. Strokes were a major factor in Mom's death. The odds of beating either were not in my favor.

I'm pretty dense when it comes to medical issues. Even when I do my homework, I've missed the obvious too many times. When I was pregnant with Collin, I read every book I could find. I was convinced I was prepared for childbirth. When the time came, however, I didn't even realize I was in labor until the contractions were five or six minutes apart. Smart, huh?

About fifteen years ago, I had a heart attack. Again, I was clueless. I didn't know until my doctor at the time was concerned about my slow heart rate and ordered some tests, including an EKG. It showed a past attack.

Earlier this month, I saw my current doctor for what was supposed to be a routine checkup. I mentioned in passing that I'd had some frustrating speech problems. It was something that's happened to all of us at one time or another: you try to say something, but the words just don't form. Your brain sends the message, but your mouth just doesn't quite get it.

It made me think of a sign I saw years ago: "Please Be Sure Brain is Engaged Before Putting Mouth Into Gear." My brain was engaged. My mouth, apparently, had slipped a gear!

In my case, it was happening too frequently. It was a pain in the butt. And there were other problems--tremors in my right hand, poor concentration and memory lapses. Sleeping too much. Brain fog.

Dr. B. explained what might be happening. It could be seizure-related. It could be a stroke. Or it could indicate a tumor. She was ordering an immediate CT scan. As those of you who follow this blog already know, I had the CT scan two weeks ago. It showed a possible stroke and slow blood flow to the brain. Last Friday, an MRI confirmed a past stroke (Dr. B. called it a pinpoint stroke, which I'm guessing is better than a big bully of a stroke) and chronic small vessel disease. I guess that explains everything.

My regular Friday dates at the hospital aren't over yet. This Friday, I'm having a Doppler ultrasound of my carotid arteries to find out if there's any plaque buildup there, keeping blood from getting through.

Oh, this is going to be so much fun. Not!

I'm lucky to have health insurance. My CT scan was over $1500. My copay was $148. I don't have the bill for the MRI yet, but I expect it to be even more expensive. I've been told the copay for the Doppler ultrasound will be $61. Without the healthcare the Republicans want to take away, these tests would have been impossible. And they wonder why we're so angry....


15 comments:

  1. So sorry you're having these medical issues and I will pray your Doppler test comes out pretty good or excellent! I inherited some wacky genes too but I'm not giving up yet and hope to live longer than my family members but they fizzled out kind of early.

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    1. Oddly enough, longevity runs in my family, too, in spite of the heart disease, strokes and diabetes.

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  2. I hope that Friday appointment goes smoothly.

    You might not want to hear this one, but that brain scan also looks like someone else.

    Mitch McConnell.

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    1. Ewwwww! I may have a lobotomy!

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    2. It's more in how a couple of editorial cartoonists depict him.

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    3. Still, ewwwwww!

      I just heard from my neurologist. Thankfully, they're not talking about doing any invasive procedures. The stroke is an "old" one and she believes the blood flow can be fixed with medication.

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  3. It does have kind of that McConnell turtle-thing going (the same guy who is trying to take away your health care). Don't take it too hard. At least it doesn't look like Trump.

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    1. Maybe it's sending a message. But I'd rather it looked like a real turtle than any of those idiots!

      Nothing else on earth looks like Trump. He makes me think of the song from the movie The Villain: "A mistake nature made; A trick Fate has played on itself...."

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  4. No No No No Norma ! Stop it ! Stop being sick I don't like hearing this.
    I am so happy your health care is working for you ! My daughter has Obama Care and has terrible health care. She sees a new doctor every visit, her appointments are are changed every time. She is getting crappy care. I have something pithy I could say here but ...
    I am also falling apart and I could just scream.

    you nice tall person who writes words you stop bein' bad tall person
    i thehamish is knot liken' this bad bad bad tall person you be gud tall person i thehamish is talkin'

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. Collin set up my insurance through the ACA. He said some of the plans are useless. But he's a genius when it comes to anything involving money. My insurance costs about the same as what he gets through his employer, and I'm a lot older with pre-existing conditions.

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  5. Are the test results in yet Norma? The Doppler tests?

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    1. Yes, the Doppler is normal. It's good to have one thing that's normal!

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  6. I saw on Facebook Norma, I'm so happy for you to hear that the Doppler tests went well!

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    1. Nobody seems to be making a big deal of the small vessel problem. I've read it's common among geezers.

      Thankfully, I had all of this done before the Repugnants do away with our insurance. I've had so many tests, I already met my deductible and out of pocket amount. My Doppler was $3200, but we only had to pay $45!

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