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....