Anatomy of a stroke – part 5

Have you ever stayed overnight in a hospital?  They pester you to death with taking your vital signs every few hours!  American hospitals are no place to rest.  This French hospital was totally different.  They let me sleep through the night and I woke up Sunday morning feeling well rested.  The day went on and was very uneventful.  One of my French friends came to see me as I was finishing dinner.  It must have been around 8 pm when she arrived.  We were having a nice conversation and all of the sudden, out of nowhere, the vertigo started.  She could see that I was in distress so she quickly said her goodbye.  I did not hesitate and dialed for the nurse.  It was only a matter of seconds before the nausea started.  All I had to throw up in was one of those shallow kidney shaped basins.  I did the best I could but still made a mess.  The nurse arrived in about 10 minutes and said what she could to comfort me.  She stayed about 10 minutes and left.  I felt nauseous again after about half an hour.  I called my nurse again and she arrived in my room 10 minutes later.  I had just finished throwing up again.  She comforted me but explained that all of the doctors were off due to the holiday weekend.  The nurse left without really doing anything to help me.  Fifteen minutes later and I was calling her again.  She told me that she could not help me and did not want to make the long walk to my room if she could not do anything for me.  It turns out that she was stationed in a completely different part of the hospital and was only supposed to keep an eye on me.  There would be a doctor coming in at 11 pm and she would have her check in on me then.  Some hospital!  I was ticked off but I did my best for another hour and did not care if I missed the basin or not. 

It was almost midnight before there was a knock at my door.  In walked the doctor.  She was probably about 30.  The French ALWAYS have a way of looking stylish.  They definitely do not have the word, NERD, spelled in their dictionary.  So she comes into my room and I am expecting more of the excuses to not do anything for me when she announces that she is from the neurology department.  She had an excellent bedside manner.  She asked me all about my history in between my bouts of puking.  My head was pounding now and my vertigo was terrible; I just wanted it to stop.  I still was fully dressed and was sweating profusely.  I honestly felt like dying.  By this time it was probably past 2 am.

Between the excessive sweating, maddening twirling, nagging migraine headache and constant retching I could not stand it anymore.   I complained to her that this was too much pain for me.  I felt totally exhausted yet could not get any rest because I was constantly up and down.  I begged for her to give me something that would put me to sleep and let me rest.  The first time I asked she was deadest against it.  I guess my constant nagging made her change her mind.  She said she had to go get the medicine and was gone for about 15 minutes.  When she returned she showed me a needle.  She swabbed my arm with an alcohol wipe and did not hesitate.  In a second she had pushed the drug in.  I do not know what it was but just remember drifting off.

I woke up in the morning from a knock at the door.  I was alone in the room and do not remember the doctor leaving.  I had been sleeping on my right side and my whole side felt like it was asleep; it had a numb tingling sensation.  It was around 7 am.  My two friends decided to visit me on their way to work.  They immediately could tell that something was wrong with me.  The one guy was absolutely furious that nobody from the hospital was with me.  The first thing he said was that we need to let my wife know what was going on.  He picked up the phone and dialed my wife.   France is six hours ahead of us in time zones in the states.  It was after 2 am when he reached my wife.  He told her that I was in the hospital and handed me the telephone.  I explained what had happen and told her I was okay.  Little did I know that nothing that I said remotely sounded like English.  I hung up the phone and had to lie back down.  My whole right side was still tingling and felt really strange.  By this time my friend was freaking out!  He called the nurse and was screaming at her to come to my room and to bring help.  He was very upset and making sure they realized I was in big trouble.  A staff of four people arrived within minutes.  He kept yelling at them to do SOMETHING!  Someone tried to intubate me, which made my very mad.  It hurt like heck and felt like they were smothering me.  My natural instinct was to fight back.  I guess they were prepared for this prospect because someone pulled out a needle.  Just before they stuck me I heard my friend tell the other, “Steve is having a stroke! ” To be continued…




2 Responses

  1. Thank you ! I had my stroke about two years ago. My durring stroke feelings were quite different. My real pains in the bottom were the days and weeks following my stroke. You said that we need to hear positive things after having a stroke. But, there are times it realy bothers me that people think I am doing so well. They have no idea that it takes mental argueing with oneself to move my leg or to sit or to stand up etc.etc.


  2. […] Anatomy of a stroke – part 5 […]


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