I was on my way to work and at 19:10 I saw my Mom was calling me. I didn't have my hands free set in, so I just let it go to voice mail. Once it was safe, I called my voice mail and it was a once sentence message: "Hi, it's Mom, call me back...it's important.". I immediately called her back and what I heard absolutely shook me to my core:
"Grandma had a stroke."I told Mom I had to pull over and call her back when it was safe. The tears started. The shock set in. I just can't believe it. I saw her 2 days ago on Christmas morning. Everything was fine. Now she's had a stroke? She can't talk? She can't move?
In the morning Grandma couldn't move her right wrist while doing laundry. It felt numb. She called the Health Link line and the nurse told her to go to ER. My Grandma's wonderfully amazing neighbour took Grandma to emerg. It must have been taking a long time, and my Grandma being impatient, decided to leave. On the way home, Grandma's neighbour asked her if she wanted to grab some lunch...to look over and see Grandma's face start to droop and she couldn't answer her questions. She turned right back around to the hospital, had a CT scan and was diagnosed with a left hemispheric ischemic stroke.
Effects of a left hemispheric stroke are:
- Weakness or paralysis on the right side of your body. Trouble reading, talking, thinking or doing math.
- Your behaviour may become more slow and cautious than usual.
- You may have trouble learning or remembering new information.
- You may need frequent instructions and feedback to finish tasks.
The bolded information is what Grandma is experiencing right now. That, along with pain to the affected (right) side and dysphagia (trouble swallowing). She also has had atrial fibrillation for years, which is my educated guess as to what caused her stroke.
Many of you have asked me how she is doing, and I wish I could tell you. I can tell you what I see as a nurse, but I don't know how she is. Grandma is still compus mentis or "with it", if you will. She recognizes all of us and can still use the left side of her body. She gave my hand such nice, strong squeezes when I got there to see her. She can give a half smile and a silent chuckle too. Right now she is just so tired. Having a stroke is such a major event, such a stress on the body, that companied with the morphine for the pain in her right arm and chronic back pain also add to the sleepiness. Her doctor told us her brain is still swelling from the injury, so that can make her tired as well. The good news is, that she can swallow! That is huge news.
Now...we wait and see. There's no predicting what could happen, her prognosis, how long she will have. Days? Months? Years? Only God knows. I just ask that you continue to pray, please. For comfort and for peace. I just don't want my Grandma to suffer - physically or mentally.
My Grandma is so much more than "just" a Grandma to me. I've always had such a special bond with her, I'm her only granddaughter too. Grandma was a nurse and and I wanted to be just like Grandma when I grew up. She was a nurse, I am a nurse. She married a farmer, I married a farmer. I lived with her for 1 school year and the summer that I graduated. It is so hard for me to see such a strong, independent woman like her, in this condition. That being said, I cannot imagine how hard this must be for her.
I will continue to update on the blog and will be going up to see her by the end of next week. Thanks for your love, thoughts, prayers, concerns, and comments.
I just donated $100 to the Heart & Stroke Foundation for their Year End campaign. I encourage you to donate as well if you can.