Things seem to go on forever the same, until they suddenly don’t.
It was a pleasant summer evening. In an attempt to improve my own perspective, I was out having dinner with a couple friends and my mom, in a noisy environment, when the waitress asked if it was my phone that was ringing. It was.
Dennis had been found on the floor by the helper who came to fix his dinner. She called my brother and together they called an ambulance to get him to the ER. He had signs of a stroke.
I don’t think he was on the floor for long, and he had no fall injuries. In fact, in the telling, he was very proud of how he had let himself down carefully so he wouldn’t get hurt. Did I not get him an emergency alert necklace for just times like this? Yes. It spoke this message to him “Fall detected, press and hold to cancel”. So, he pressed and held and cancelled. He was planning on getting to a chair, getting himself up, and recovering. He didn’t want to fuss with the outside help.
He was taken to the ER in our local hospital. They confirmed a hemorrhagic stroke with a CT scan and immediately called an ambulance to take him to a stroke center 90 miles away. I talked with him before they left. He didn’t have severe symptoms – just some left sided weakness and loss of skin sensation. Maybe his speech was a little difficult to understand, but he mumbled a lot anyway and this wasn’t much different.
I followed the ambulance up and was able to see him safely established in his room, hooked up to all the necessary monitors. His blood pressure which had been 225/135 was being carefully kept below 140/90. Another CT scan that night showed no further bleeding apparent.
Things had changed, suddenly. I always knew stroke was a possibility with his blood pressure spikes, which happened frequently. He had stopped taking his meds because he had a period of relative stability without them. He didn’t like taking pharmaceuticals, and I didn’t argue with him since the meds seemed to make no difference. He was equally unstable with or without them. In hind sight I wonder if we could have prevented this, but that is not to be known.
So, on July 26, 2022 Dennis traded his recliner for a $50,000 bed in a neuro trauma ICU. And this was just the start.