Part 3 – Cardiac Care

Three

Jane Philips Medical Center

Jane Philips Medical Center in Bartlesville, OK. I was on the top floor.

They admitted me to the coronary care unit. It was supper time, so I got my first taste of hospital food. Yay me. Somewhere in here, I began to be aware that my speech was changing. I’d been fine and talking normal in the ER, but slowly but surely, I noticed my speech getting choppier, more stuttery, and was having more trouble getting words out. I could tell my thinking was slowing down in general and my perception changing. What I would later come to call my “strokey” feeling was starting to settle in on me.

They say that some strokes can happen progressively over several hours or even days. I don’t know if that was the case for me, but I do know as soon as they admitted me, I seemed to get functionally worse. I’m not saying (or even hinting) that’s the hospital’s or anyone’s fault, but just making the observation. It was all pretty stressful.

The nursing staff on the 10th floor was most excellent. Professional and well-trained. The jumble of people is a blur mostly, but I don’t remember there being anyone that I didn’t care for though I connected with some more than others. For some it was obvious that their job was to be selfless and caring, for others it was obvious they were truly selfless and caring. Because of the speech impediment, I spent a lot of time being quiet and reading people’s spirits. There was one nurse who was a joy to be around. She was one of those happy, bubbly people. It never seemed to phase her that I was quiet and not up to being Miss Personality. I remember thinking she probably drove her co-workers nuts because she was not necessarily one who paid attention to detail. She loved people though and was kind and thoughtful. Another nurse was a man. That was just weird. He was a great nurse tho’, a gentle soul, and I liked him. There was one nurse’s aide that was my favorite too. She worked nights and she challenged me physically a lot. We seemed to have a good rapport.

The next morning, Sunday (Nov 30), was the first of two MRI’s. Being claustrophobic, the thought of enduring an MRI had always scared me. However, I was in for a penny in for a pound by then, so I gritted my teeth and went with it. Didn’t feel too closed in. God helped me. It was loud and strange even with ear plugs. Not what I expected. There was another, different CT scan later that morning that came back negative. By that time, my right side (mostly my leg) was barely working and they had to move me from one table to another by lifting me on a sheet. You know- like you always see on tv hospital shows. With the exception of the lady who came and got me who wheeled me soooo fast in the wheel chair that my head snapped back and the breeze hurt my face and I was worried we were gonna crash going around the corners, I recall all the tech people being very kind and sympathetic.

It’s hard to remember the exact timing, but my parents and family came to visit sometime in here.

In the afternoon, doctor “Chekov” came in and told us that there were indeed signs of a stroke. It was a 5cm area on the left parietal lobe. So being the left side of my brain, it affected the right side of my body as well as my speech. I don’t really remember my reaction. I was rather numb to the whole experience by then. I remember a sense of feeling deflated and disappointed as well as being very tired for I’d hardly slept. I felt slow and sluggish, like I was moving about in a dream. I know I didn’t fully understand what it even meant to have a stroke. Yes, I understood the basics and had seen it in others, but it didn’t really register what it was going to mean for me.

Go to Part Four

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