I tried to drag myself from the deep slumber I was in. It was 1:30 am, Sunday night or Monday morning depending on how you look at it. No quite what Buckeye called the "witching hour" but close and my brain was acting as if it were.
I turned on the kitchen light so I could read the number and to help jump start my brain. It read 555-3028, Debra Peel. My brain--"who the heck is Debra Peel".
I punched in the number 555-3028. "Hello, this is Dr Bates. Someone had me paged."
"No one here paged any doctor."
"I'm sorry. This is the number I was given."
"This number is 555-0328."
I hang up and try again, being very careful to punch the correct numbers. "Hello, this is Dr Bates. Someone had me page."
"Dr Bates, this is Mr Debra Peel. You operated on my wife three days ago." Now my brain fires with the memory of his wife and her surgery. It had been an easy surgery in a 61 yo healthy female. The surgery had take one hour and there had been no problems during or after (until now).
"Yes, Mr Peel. How can I help you?"
"My wife is complaining of a funny feeling in her right face and arm. Would her pain medication do that to her?"
"Mr Peel, will you tell me more about that funny feeling?"
"Dr Bates, here's my wife. I'll let her tell you."
Debra Peel, "Dr Bates, I had a bit of a right-sided headache with a tingling/numbness of my right face around nine. I took some Tylenol and went to bed. I thought it would just go away, but now it's worse and my right arm feels funny. Do you think my pain medication could be causing this?"
My brain is trying to access the input--no slurred speech, no audible breathing problems. "Anything else? Any chest pain?"
"No, I can breath fine. My chest doesn't hurt. Could my pain medicine be causing this?"
"Ms Peel, you need to go to the emergency room and let them access you for a problem in your head or heart. You need to hang up the phone and go to the emergency room now." My brain is thinking TIA or stroke.
"You don't think it could just be my pain medication?"
"No, Ms Peel. Your pain medication would effect both your arms, not just one. Please, go to the emergency room and let them check you out."
"Okay, we'll go to **Hospital"
I put the pager up, turned off the kitchen light, and went back to bed. My brain did not return to it's nice slumber. The next morning -- I mean later that morning--around 10 am, I called the Peel home to see if I could find out what had happened at the hospital.
"Hello, Ms Peel, this is Dr Bates. How are you doing? Did they find anything?"
"Dr. Bates, they did an EKG and a brain scan. I had an episode while I was there so they got to see it. They didn't find anything wrong though."
An hour later, my phone at the office rings and it's Ms Peel. "Dr Bates, the hospital called me back. The radiologist read the brain scan and found a blocked artery in my head. I'm suppose to go see my family doctor. I have an appointment tomorrow with him, so can we change my appointment with you to another time."
"Thank you, Ms Peel, for letting me know. Sure, would you like to come in today for me to remove your sutures?"
The symptoms of stroke are distinct because they happen quickly:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg (especially on one side of the body)
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause