Guess who had a stroke?

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CraigB
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Guess who had a stroke?

Post by CraigB » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 4:16 pm

Me! Feeling a bit special at the moment having survived and virtually no lasting effects.....so far. Thought i would share my experience and never know, might save somebody else.

Busy day on Friday running around chasing parts, back just in time to pick up kids from school and home via the Barber for a couple of haircuts. 5pm I decided to head to the shed and went from the warm house to cold outside air and felt a bit odd. I remembered i had some bits in the car and went to pull them out, still feeling odd and started to talk to myself out loud (that's usual!) and my speech was a bit funny. I went back inside looking for Jo and tried to explain but nothing was making sense, although not really slurred. I had already gone through my own first aid outside FAST......My face felt normal, could smile.....could easily raise both arms and same both side, was walking strongly, could lift parts from car with full strength...... could stick tongue out and speech odd but not slurred...... the T bit being about importance of time. Jo was instantly on to the ambulance.......asked me something like "whats wrong"and i answered yes. I could hear questions, having some trouble with understanding but when i went to answer odd but clear words came out, even when i had repeated goes to correct myself. While waiting for the ambos in a chair I picked up a newspaper, screwed up a page and started rubbing my hair with it - still can't explain that one but it was very deliberate and well executed and I remember doing it..... just not why!

Ambulance was called 5.10 and first intervention guy was there 5.25, but not much they can do for stroke, but the big bus was there only 5 mins later. They observed waves of where i could say the right words and i would get excited to hear the right word come out, then got me up and i walked easily unassisted to the ambulance and climbed in the side door. I started to chat away but at some stage I remember the guy looking worried and getting on his mobile and saying something like "we have lost him again". I remember hearing the rail signals at the Blackwood crossing and seeing enough that we were on the wrong side of the road by the gates with a long line of cars they must have run up the wrong side to pass. Train gone and we were off again.

Unloading at Flinders and there was a doctor waiting for me and they had me all wired up, ecg etc i think and lots of questions and tests but only seemed like minutes before they wheeled me around and i was going in to a CT scan machine. By now I was managing to communicate again - I can't recall if they had already put some needles in me. Hard to track time over this period but they wheeled me back to Emergency and it seemed like instantly they were showing me an image of my brain on a screen and this big blotch where the clot was. He said they had to do act quickly to try and avoid permanent damage and a real danger of death. At first he was explaining they were going to do some sort of intervention of the clot but the part of the brain was too dangerous and so they connected me to this 'clot busting' stuff in a big syringe that was mechanically slowly being put in to me. Very quickly I was having conversations like nothing had happened. Just seen a speech patholigist and apart from some hesitations, which she agrees could be in part due to me being a bit rattled about what happened, i am pretty close to 100% and no reason to believe not a full recovery. If you saw me now I doubt you would spot anything. Jo and the kids arrived in emergency to hear a toned down version and she estimates that was no later than 6.30.

They moved me up to CCU and still all wired up and constant checking throughout the night. I got a phone and rang my 90yo mum at 10pm, knowing she would be having fits, and she said she couldn't pick up any difference to a normal call from me.

And for the record iit was an Embolic stroke. I am 55, not overweight, never smoked, lightdrinker, healthy diet,perfect blood pressure and sugar,low cholesterol.Lots of tests to come to try and work out what happened!

So main point i wanted to make, not what I had pictured from my first aid training but also that point about don't think it will be right - dial 000!
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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by KimB » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 4:42 pm

Gosh Craig, sounds like a close call!
Glad to hear you are getting back to normal!

All the best for a full recovery.
Cheers
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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by gazman » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 4:57 pm

faeces mate your a lucky man. Buy a lotto ticket an rest. Dodged a bullet there. All the best for a full an speedy recovery
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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by T-Modell » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 6:24 pm

Hi Craig,
thanks for sharing this in that detail, might help one day. I wish you a speedy and full recovery!

Another reason to fully enjoy every day.
All the best
Thomas
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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by CraigB » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 8:10 pm

Thanks Everyone. I have thought what you have said for a long time Thomas and something I drill into my boys (often in the midst of an argument) - your aim should be to be as happy as you can every day.... is this making you happy? Also losing one friend in the last month or so to cancer and another very close with brain cancer, more than ever have been thinking enjoy every day, don't wait for your bucket list. One thing is to do overseas travel with the family but probably best to try and find out from tests first as to what is going on before jumping on a plane!
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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by TheMadRacoon » Sun 01 Jul, 2018 9:56 pm

Wishing you well Craig.

Can be a bit scary for the kids, so glad things turned around quickly.

Take care of yourself.
Emad,
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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by Bartman4800 » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 12:06 pm

Craig, like was said before: thanks for sharing this with us.

I keep telling other people to cherish every day, because it could be too late before you know.
But I am not sure I am actually practicing what I preach...
I have this urge to spend every minute of my day onto accomplishing something practical, a tick off my list.

But over the last few years I realized it is actually worthwhile spending time with my 4 year old daughter, and seeing her evolve into a thinking human being.
It has changed my perspective...

Thanks Craig
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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by CraigB » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 12:25 pm

I know what you mean Bart and as my kids are getting older I realise that the time spent with your kids is actually 'a box to tick' and not just fun and enjoyable - it seemed like my 13yo, the day of his birthday clicked into difficult teenager mode. He is not bad at all but i now find in a 'stand off' situation, I can leave it a few minutes and go to him and speak softly, maybe give him a hug and often that brick wall of before turns into a logical conversation - I try to say I understand some of what he is feeling and can cut him some slack but this and that particular point are not ok and not acceptable - seems to be working well so far and i am sure that wouldn't happen if I hadn't put in the groundwork over all those years...... not just fun, its a good investment!
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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by Pete49 » Mon 02 Jul, 2018 4:04 pm

Jeez young fella you were lucky. All the best for your recovery and hope you don't try to repeat it.
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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by AMG » Tue 10 Jul, 2018 8:46 pm

Crikey - I'm only seeing this for the first time 9 days later.

Everything Ok now? (as in recovery, taking it easy, not pushing etc)

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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by CraigB » Wed 11 Jul, 2018 3:16 pm

Thanks Joe. Yep going ok. I am having a bit of trouble with concentration and typing etc and realise i didn't update here that i had a 'face droop' exercise and my tongue went dead shortly after my last post below on the Monday. In a way it was even scarier because all the other stuff hadn't been physical like that. Off to emergency in an ambulance again (there goes my private health insurance annual quota of ambulance!) and another CT scan but no brain bleed or clot and they think it was just a reaction from the damage of oxygen starvation to the brain on the Friday. Don't get me wrong and i am still very grateful but it took me 6 hours in emergency, hard to get info and i have to say it seems like a system under extreme stress and I couldn't help wondering if it couldn't be managed a little better. My head wasn't feeling great and I can't quote exact times, but they scanned me pretty quick but then when i came back i was instructed to sit on this bench 'for a few minutes' - this is ED and i didn't want to hassle anyone while others have real emergencies, but many hours later I had a doctor come to me and apologise that all they had to do was an ECG but needed to lay me down somewhere to do that and they hadn't had anywhere. I had been sitting for a little while across from a room where i had seen someone come out of and leave (didn't seem to be bandaged up or anything) and knowing an ECG (having had a few now!) only takes a few minutes I asked about that room. She looked and then just had to wait for someone else to come in and change sheets etc and i was done. It felt like my first chance to ask questions of the doctor about what was happening longer term and while the answer was pretty much to talk to the stroke clinic, to her credit she did a bit of checking for me and I was surprised they would not see me until another month. I was shittin myself a bit but she was reassuring that my blood was thinned by the aspirin and there were no other specific warnings but she gave me a referral to have an ultrasound of my carotid arteries because she could and she said in her opinion that was important. I got in for a cancellation the next morning with the result I have nicely formed arteries with now narrowing and not a trace of plaque. I hope that doctor didn't get in any trouble because when i turned up with the referral and later talked to the stroke clinic, they all seemed a bit put out that someone from ED had done that. I don't feel like i pushed in front of anyone and just grabbed an opportunity and freed up a space later on - similarly with the ECG thing, my mind would be thinking next time someone comes in (as long as not bleeding to death) then lets slip this guy in and get him out of our hair - but I have always run things that way, looking for the gains etc.

So I should make it clear that I don't know the system, where checks and balances are necessary and not suggesting I know all the answers, but i can't help wondering if it is similar to what i observed in 32 years of Govt. At times I worked under managers and hierarchy who had experience and with that could pull great efficiency and effectiveness under tightening budgets. I also worked under those with little experience but good with the textbooks (and their arrogance) and through their insecurity all sorts of procedures come in to play that make doing the same tasks as you used to with lead boots on..... and no change to outcomes apart from losing efficiency. But we live in this society where whenever anything goes wrong, it must be someone elses fault and therefore they should pay and probably no more so than in the medical area.....so i get it. I do know an ambo very well who spends lots of his time 'ranked' at hospitals and usually with people who are low on the emergency list and are likely to get sent straight home once they get through the system, but he can't make those judgements. One example i remember he transported this child four times i think it was through one night, each time seen at ED, all the checks and standard procedures redone and immediately sent home and told that was the best place for them. The fifth time they did their paramedic checks and based on the history of the night he refused to transport them again. A letter was sent to a politician and many months of public resources and with him put through the wringer and reprimanded that he can't make those decisions and has to transport. Not long after that he was ranked at RAH while a colleague (off duty) died from a heart attack in the local supermarket with no ambulance in the area or defib around. I said the same thing when i was working that I question the way we calculate risk. We are constantly forced to aim for this impossible zero risk without regard for the resources that consumes and without stepping back to look at the big picture.

Looking back its a funny system where through the public system I couldn't have hoped for a better outcome, and yet talking to a couple of people since, they don't always get it right, despite the checks and you have to accept that there is a degree of 'rolling the dice'. What if the initial stroke happened 30 mins earlier while driving my kids along twisty roads, what if i was deep in the SE walking through our 800 acres of scrub and an hour from a vehicle let along a hospital - I can only think i was lucky. Leaving hospital a couple of days later and have been flying pretty much blind until getting a proper appointment with my GP yesterday. Got some advice from 'strokeline' but their first question was to ask me about my discharge documentation - I never got anything and even yesterday with GP going through records and he couldn't find anything. Hard for Strokeline to give specific advice despite having what seems like a good structure in place. I managed to get in to see GP between appointments on the Tuesday and he told me the public stroke clinic are the people to be running this but gave me a referral for an echo-cardiogram and 24hr monitor that i could do privately and maybe shortcut some things and get earlier peace of mind. But to go private with it all likely to be at least 9 months to see someone and faster under the public system. Interestingly, The echo-cardiogram, the thing that could find a problem and prevent huge medical costs by fixing something, isn't covered by private health insurance. It is covered by medicare but when I asked about gap payments at this heart specialist centre and the answer was between 0 and $280 - most around $200, (depending on how much they think they are worth!) By chance I got in, within 48 hours, to see the cardiologist who by coincidence saved my fathers life and kept him alive to see both my kids born and with good quality of life, and i know he is a smart cookie too who has pioneered procedures etc..... his gap - $40. I don't want this to sound like a whinge, I am still feeling pretty lucky but with lots of time on my hands, I can't help wondering if a rethink and people working together, could we put all the resources we have together and come up with something that works better for everyone. I have been enjoying what looks like lots of different people from different countries working together, weighing up risks and then successfully getting all those kids out of that cave in Thailand.

Lots of words here - I must be doing better! The short update though is that yesterday with the GP, results from the 'Echo' are that i possibly have a small hole in my heart that would explain everything and relatively simple procedure to fix it. I am booked in 1/8 for a different type of echo-cardiogram done from down my throat that gives them a better look to confirm this hole. Meanwhile a quick chat with the GP has put my mind at rest for a lot of things that have been going on with my body. Nobody told me "just rest" or "try and exercise your brain" etc. GP said to treat it like a broken leg - don't do nothing but don't overdo it - so I am pretty comfortable with that and overall I think things are going well. I certainly slept a lot better last night and i am sure that has something to do with the comfort of knowledge from yesterday.

Keep you posted!
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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by T-Modell » Wed 11 Jul, 2018 3:35 pm

Hi Craig,
I wish you all the best! Just do one thing: if you're better and you have the ok from the doctors, just book that flight you mentioned ... just do it.
Thomas
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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by Ivanerrol » Wed 11 Jul, 2018 7:29 pm

Hi Craig,
I echo everybody else's thoughts with all the best.

I'm interested in your private health insurance and only a couple of ambulance journeys. Are you sure on this?

I was at a Cardiologist today with my B.I.L. He was carted off by ambulance to hospital 6 weeks ago with heart issues. One ambulance to the local Noosa Hospital and then another to the Maroochydore hospital to have a pacemaker installed. He has private insurance and is covered for ambulance journey.
Today was a post operative consultation with the cardiologist who had installed the pacemaker. All good so far - next appointment a year away.
B.I.L.'s G.P. has been doing the hard yards - prescribing treatment's drugs and consulting with cardiologists and hospital.
He has been told to immediately call an ambulance in case of signs of heart issues - all covered by Private insurance.

In Victoria if you are not covered by private insurance ambulance costs you subscribe directly to the ambulance service.

It's been my experience working on the periphery of large public hospitals and diagnostic services that heart issues are taken with a great deal of seriousness.
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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by Honey500 » Wed 11 Jul, 2018 9:29 pm

Wow Craig have just come across this.
Glad to hear that things are on the up.

It is a scary thing. My Dad had a stroke about three years back and talking with mum it was pretty scary with the wait in emerg excruciating. He was lucky his started as just a migraine. Went and had his eyes checked as thought this was the issue and they suggested a trip to Flinders....good advice in the end. He has a loss of 1/4 of his vision but with 12 months of the public system he was allowed to drive again.

Couple of things he was told: 50% of stroke patients are like you no or minor risk factors i.e. smoking, weight etc.
And that with a medication regimen his risk of a further stroke is less than my probability of having a stroke.

Keep on the improve mate.

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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by CraigB » Thu 12 Jul, 2018 11:31 am

Thanks guys, that's good to hear about your Dad, Stuart. In the last 2 weeks i think i would have slept better with that knowledge but I am getting that idea that with the thinning i am much safer, and no doubt why the lack of rush in chasing things. With the ambulance, I will recheck but i think in the past i looked up and there were limits. Just to cover ourselves we went direct to SA Ambulance and paid $190 that will cover us across australia for everything..... and hopefully this will mean we won't need another one!
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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by AMG » Thu 12 Jul, 2018 3:54 pm

Glad you're ok mate. Now take it easy for a bit.
Current:
1987 560SL 4sp. auto Signalrot "Stella"
1987 190E 2.3-16 5sp. man. Blauschwarz "Hermann"
1992 300CE-24 6sp. man. Perlblau / Iceblau "Gretel"
1992 Range Rover Classic 4sp auto Ardennes Green "Oswald"
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Previous:
1986 560SEL Anthracitgrau "Schultz" - In Mercedes Heaven
1987 190E 2.6 4sp. auto Signalrot "Sabine" - which now resides/owns Andrew M's Garage
1972 350SLC Astralsilber "Lurch" - now in the loving care of Craig B
1989 2.5-16 Blauschwarz 4sp. auto (parted) formerly owned by Derek/Hasan.
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Re: Guess who had a stroke?

Post by edenning » Mon 16 Jul, 2018 12:47 pm

Craig I've only just caught up with this, and send my best regards to you and your family. Like you I was very involved with bringing up my two daughters with my wife working away a great deal. It is the most rewarding thing any person can do though, so good luck to you.
I have spent my career doing x-rays and CT scans and we are very lucky in Australia to have such a good health care system.
TIA's (transient ischemic attacks) usually require at least a CT Brian and Ultrasound Carotid artery study as soon as possible, the CT being performed in an emergency scenario.
Victoria is leading the way and have recently introduced a mobile stroke unit, where the ambulance has an on-board CT scanner and highly qualified radiographer that will perform scans in association with the paramedic backup well before your arrival to hospital.
As far as private health cover goes for ambulance travel each provider is probably different, but they often don't cover transfer from one hospital to another hospital. As we live in a regional area we also took out SA Ambulance cover for a small fee.
Glad to here you are doing well now Craig, must be time I went for a cruise through the Adelaide Hills soon.
cheers Evan

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