A Cautionary Tale

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by lightontheland, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. This is one of those incidents in our lives that we sometimes tend to treat casually, often too casually:

    It started with a simple mat-cutting task for an 11X14 print. I measured the print dimension carefully and did the conversions for the Logan 650, just as I’d done this a hundred times before – except that the mat size was completely off. I checked my measurement, and then checked the conversion factors in the spread sheet calculations. That was when I realized that I couldn’t recall the equation factors which I had known for years. It took a lot longer than it should have to sort out the equations, but I finally got that part sorted out. I remember thinking that I must be really getting old and starting to lose it. Then, I rechecked the print measurement, and discovered that I had miscalculated by 10 cntimeters. That’s a hell of an error. I was really losing it.

    It gets more interesting.

    (Note: The foregoing is what justifies including this part in the Casual Photo Conversations forum.)

    Late that night, I woke up with a irregular heart beat and some heat, but not quite pain, in the chest area. I recognized the symptoms from a previous episode about 18 months ago: Atrial fibrillation, more commonly known as “A-Fib”. The a-fib episode lasted longer then the first occurrence. At that time, the doctors treated it seriously, but not as something life-threatening. I had all the meds, and life was good. That’s why I decided to ride it out this time and avoid waking my wife and scaring her. Bad idea.

    The next morning, I woke up shortly before 6 AM. My pulse was regular and steady again, and it looked like the a-fib had settled out. Then, I looked at the clock. I couldn’t understanding what the clock was telling me. I saw the numbers, "5:45", or thereabouts, but I had no what idea what that meant in terms of time. Eventually, I got up and looked at the coffee pot in the kitchen, and saw that it was on, so I knew it had to be 6 AM.

    Next, I went to my desktop PC, and discovered that my keyboard was completely alien to me. I had no clue how to operate it. I managed to open the PNet website, managed to enter my email address (with a little help from the auto fill routine), but could not remember the password. By then I was at the "uh-oh" stage, with more to follow.

    My wife got up and headed for the coffee pot. I started to tell her I had a problem. Every word I spoke was gibberish. Not only could I not remember words, but the words I could remember, I couldn't speak clearly. By then, my wife had already figured out that I had a problem. She just looked at me and said, "I'm getting your ass to the ER."

    To make a long story short, after three days of testing, MRI, prodding, poking, needles sticking everywhere, the docs finally determine that I'd had a stroke, with a significant brain bleed. In a way, I was lucky, because I had not paralysis or physical weakness of any kind, but my head was totally screwed up. (Feel free to insert snide comments here.)

    Now, after four days, I'm home, and I have recovered rapidly in that time. Except for the Motel 6 hospital bed from hell. I have a whole new list of drugs to play with (oh, joy).

    Okay, now the moral, especially for those of us of advanced age: Watch your health, and don't take even minor symptoms too lightly. Going to the doctor may be a PIA, but neglect could be disabling, even fatal. I was damn lucky. My wife calls it a warning bell, I think it was more of a dope slap, and it definitely got my attention.

    So, take care of yourselves. There are too many good people here in PNet to lose from neglect.

    Thanks for letting me rant...

    William
     
  2. SCL

    SCL

    Been there & done that myself. You're quite lucky. Now really pay attention to what your health care professionals advise. Lots of people have significant recovery from strokes, but it takes time and patience to learn to deal with the consequences and do your best to avoid a second helping. I was lucky in that my wife and daughter, although exasperated, were patient as I took a number of weeks to remember their names when I was talking with them.
     
  3. Thanks for the reminder, William, and wishing for your full recovery.
     
  4. William, the need to check out "funny" feelings applies to all not just us geezers. There may be a slight mystique in "toughing it out" but usually the sooner the treatment, the better the outcome. ANY pain above the waist may be a heart attack. Check out the risk factors http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/basics/risk-factors/con-20019520 and see what may affect you. If you have afib don't skip the blood thinner. The clots that afib generates can not only cause strokes but also may cause pulmonary embolisms. Fundamentally if there is an abnormal physical condition get examined by a doctor.
     
  5. Thanks, William. That was a most welcome "rant!" Be easy and get well...
     
  6. Very familiar. My 70-something mom has had a few TIAs with similar temporary cognitive impairment, and her older brother had many more serious strokes - although he made it into his 80s.
    I've had a few less serious experiences with cognitive impairments - according to a neurologist it's due to a lifelong struggle with severe and frequent migraines and vascular headaches. So far, so good, per the MRIs - no tumors, no indications of TIAs. But it is disturbing to realize that ordinary tasks suddenly seem like they've been re-engineered by aliens without first consulting us or leaving instructions behind.
    My mom had a similar episode Friday and we're still waiting to hear from her neurologist for a followup. It was fairly minor compared with previous TIAs and might have been due as much to a very stressful week as to any other cause. Just a few instances of struggling to find words, and a little increased shaking in her hands. The visiting nurse today said she seemed okay. But to be safe I want her to follow up with another neuro evaluation.
     
  7. Glad to hear that you're still with us William! Take care of yourself. cb
     
  8. Thanks for the update. Wishing you a speedy and full recovery.
     
  9. I am glad that you are OK, William. Take care of yourself!
    Your warning is right on point. I had a TIA at age 35. It can happen at almost any age and the reasons for stroke events are many.
    I had a big scare but no residual deficits---my neurologist looked at the scan and said that mine occurred in a "quiet part of the brain." My wife allowed that that would be most of my brain, of course. But I am much more attentive to any kind of symptom now!
     
  10. Thanks for the cautionary tale, William. Sorry you had to go through this so we could be more cautious about our own health. Here's to a speedy recovery!
     
  11. William, that is so scary. I hope you have a full recovery.
     
  12. Good luck with your recovery William. I had an episode when in my 30s where I'd just finished playing racquetball, and when I got home and started the routine of putting my kids to bed, I couldn't remember the words for telling them to go get their teeth brushed. I didn't bother with the doctor as it passed quickly, but I later learned that physical exertion can bring about such an episode, which is technically a kind of stroke. I had a buddy that had a similar experience while on his daily run, and he had to call someone to come get him because he had no idea how to get home. Scary stuff when it happens.
     
  13. Best wishes for recovery, William. Kudos for your wife who recognized a problem and acted promptly.
     
  14. You have to be your own health manager. Ten years ago I had a bleed while out jogging and spent four
    weeks in a rehab hospital learning to walk again. A couple of years before that my then primary care
    doctor had put me on a daily dose of baby aspirin but when I noticed I was having what looked like
    bruises or bleeding under the skin stopped taking the aspirin, over his objections, remembering my mother
    had died at that age after several bleeding episodes. After reviewing my scans the neurologist told me I
    would have been dead if I had not stopped taking the baby aspirin. My wife has food allergies that only
    she can discover and avoid. Doctors can only know sand do so much. Best wishes William and thanks for
    bringing up this discussion.
     
  15. Best of luck and good health to you.
    There aren't so many of us that we can afford to toss a perfectly (maybe) good one away.
     
  16. I'm glad that it was no worse that it was, William.
    I have been noting recently that atrial fibrillation is associated with a high incidence of stroke.
    Your post really brings that home. We cannot afford to ignore that possibility.
    --Lannie
     
  17. William,
    Glad to hear you are on the mend.
    I post on a political website that has over 1 million members. We are mostly anonymous to each other besides our usernames. Things can get heated in our discussions. Sometimes people can have a bad day and go off on a rant. Sometimes people can just seem off.
    We had a case with a fairly prominent member started posting some weird comments. Most members just shrugged it off but some took notice when the behavior continued. They were able, with some effort, to contact a friend of the person. They were having a medical episode.
    We should do the same here. If someone starts making posts that don't make sense or are angry we shouldn't be so quick to ignore them. Just an email to the person to see if they are okay could be helpful. We are a community and we should look out for each other.
    Take care.
     
  18. Glad to hear that your doing better; I'm sure your wife was very concerned at the time and hopefully she's less stressed out now. It's so hard to see a spouse in a serious medical condition as imaginations can run away with one over the possibility for life changing circumstances for the parties involved. Thankfully it sounds as if you'll be fine and things can return to some semblance of normality.
    I'll be turning 63 early next year and health, retirement and affording both are at the forefront of my thoughts nowadays. (Thought I'd never be dealing with it just yet) Unfortunately, without a good healthcare policy one can quickly go bankrupt if there are any major medical emergencies.
    On a lighter note this should be fodder for thought for the young to get out there now and do it. Take those trips and pictures and be thankful that your still young and not on the downhill side yet and encumbered with late life health issues.
     
  19. Guys (and Laura, of course!), thank you for your thoughtful responses. I'm improving pretty rapidly, more slowly in math challenges but I can still count to ten ;-) My main effort now will be getting out there and shooting again.
    I can't even begin to express my love and appreciation for Diana, the love of my life, for all of her constant support through this. I wouldn't have made it without her. Our 38th anniversary will happen on Sunday, and we definitely will celebrate.
    Oh, and Diana will be joining PNet soon - stay tuned!
    Regards to all here,
    William
     
  20. Glad that you are getting better now, hopefully you will be 100 % soon.
     
  21. Glad to hear you are on the mend! Also, Good Job to your wife for her role in that mend - and Happy Anniversary! Here's to the two of you having many more years together :)
     
  22. Big kudos to your wife for getting you to the ER quickly. Time can make the biggest difference in these situations. Get well and be involved in how you treat it - don't only follow orders.
     
  23. Wow! William, I am so sorry to hear that you are having to deal with this extremely difficult experience. However, I am thankful to hear that you are receiving thorough and attentive care. I wish you the best for a full and swift recovery.
     

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