Wednesday, December 12, 2012
A Stroke Story, part 2
Sheryl helped me get to my feet and helped me walk, and we slowly hobbled into the living room, where I thought was a more proper place to wait for the ambulance. I still hadn't got around to going to the bathroom, so I thought that might be a good idea.. So, Sheryl helped me get to the bathroom.. I'll have to ask her, because I really don't remember how that worked out.
It took a terribly long time for the ambulance to arrive. They came in, and the first thing they wanted to do was to put an I.V. in my arm. I've never understood what in the world good it would do me to have an I.V., especially in the case of a stroke. They tried... and tried... and tried.. One of the ambulance personnel asked me how I felt.. I was, by this time, able to garble out some actual words.. I'm sure I sounded like Foster Brooks when I told them that I felt just like I do when I drink a whole 6-pack of beer. All action stopped. Everything went totally quiet and the crew began acting like they were going to pack up and leave.. Sheryl, seeing that they had jumped to an incorrect conclusion that I was drunk, interceded then, and told them emphatically to not listen to me... that I hadn't had a drop to drink.. She told them that I must be having a stroke, or something.. They grudgingly returned their attention to me. They gave up on the I.V., helped me onto a gurney, and took me out to the ambulance and slid me in the back.. I felt like I was being treated like a chunk of dead meat. Sheryl watched them leave the yard with me in the ambulance.. She says that she looked out the picture window and saw my truck sitting in the moon light over by the garage... and knew, at that moment, that our lives had just been changed forever.
Just as we left our property, somebody in the ambulance said something, and the ambulance quickly stopped, and someone bailed out, grabbed the back door, opened it and slammed it shut a couple of times.. Someone cussed at the door a little and slammed it shut again.. It must have finally fully latched. Then we were all aboard again, and we took off for town. I remember asking, "Don't I get the red lights and siren treatment???" Nobody was speaking. They hadn't spoken a word since successfully closing the door of the ambulance. So, I stayed quiet for the time being, but asked again as we were going down main street in Cody.. "No red lights and siren??" Silence.. Maybe they couldn't hear or understand what I was saying. So, I repeated the question. Someone finally spoke up and said, "No!!!!!!"..... Maybe they were still suspicious that I was drunk... I really don't know.. (Note: We were later haunted by our health insurance company because someone in the ambulance crew wrote on a report that he didn't think anything was wrong with me.) But, ya know.... I just can't stand someone who doesn't have at least a little bit of a sense of humor.. This ambulance crew needed to get a job in a morgue, or something.
My arrival at the hospital had to have been at least 1 1/2 hours from the time Sheryl initiated the call.. Since that incident, we've pretty much decided that, in the future, if the same type of thing happens, Sheryl will call a neighbor to help her drag me to the car, and then she'll haul me to the hospital herself.. We figure she could get me there in less than half the time.... and probably 1/20th the cost..
At the hospital emergency room, my speech was slowly improving, my right leg was continuing to improve, but my right hand and arm were still deader than a door nail. My face felt pretty funny and I was told that the right side of my face and mouth had a droop. I was thinking a little more clearly by this time.... and I didn't like what I was thinking. I remember choosing to stay in Cody and be treated by Dr. McCue, instead of accepting the option of being transported to Billings to be cared for by a specialist.. After a few hours of no additional improvement, I was told that any paralysis that lasts longer than 24 hours would probably be permanent. Oh, great!!
(to be continued....)