My Brother Rick (aka Dikes, Rich) Condition Post-Stroke

asstroke3Last Thursday, a few minutes past noon, I called my brother Rick in Milwaukee (it had become a ritual of sorts especially while driving), and he answered in an odd tone which gave me pause. He began to complain of escalating nausea to which I urged him to see his personal physician.  He failed to remember his physician or the terrible diabetic wound which almost led to amputation or his two-month in-patient hospital stay. I astroke1told him I’d call 9-1-1 and ask that he be taken to West Allis Memorial Hospital ( policy dictates patients be taken to the nearest hospital). However the paramedics discovered atrial fibrillation (fluttering heart beats) which alternately peaked and diminished and therefore paramedics informed me that they were headed to a critical cardiac unit at St. Luke’s Medical Center.

However, St. Luke’s didn’t have a bed open, so Rick was taken to Froedert Lutheran Medical Center. After tests and a CT scan the ER team began antibiotics to stave off a small area of pneumonia in his right lung.  Rick remained on the general medical floor until the results of an MRI showed he’d suffered a severe ischemic stroke (an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain) in the occipital lobe (at the rear of the skull and is responsible for vision). On Sunday afternoon he was transported to the Stroke Unit (one of just astroke2a few in the U.S.) where he was resting comfortably.

On Monday, June 18 Rick suffered a significant seizure which greatly diminished his short term memory and eliminated the peripheral vision on his right side.  I’ve visited and talked via telephone with him this past week.  The cadence of his speech has slowed, he’s practically immobile, he’s approaching clinical blindness, and finds difficulty in fundamental motor movements like holding a cup.  But as he told me earlier this week, “I ain’t going to be like this forever, you know!”

I’d like to ask that anyone reading this post to consider sending him a get well card.  I’m sure your sentiments would help replenish a hopeful spirit during difficult times.  For those of you who send cards, thank you; for those that haven’t, please reconsider.  Send your cards to:

Richard Didrickson
Froedert & Medical College of Wisconsin
5-NW Nursing Unit
9200 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI  53226


3 thoughts on “My Brother Rick (aka Dikes, Rich) Condition Post-Stroke

  1. Very touching blog. I recently suffered two strokes myself at age 38. It was the scariest thing in my life but it has also been able to open my eyes and allow me to enjoy both my wonderful wife and my beautiful five month old daughter.

    I wish your Brother a safe recovery.


  2. I’m so glad to hear the Rick is hanging in and swinging for the fences in his recovery. A fighting spirit and plain stubbornness often makes all the difference in recovering abilities that have been diminished and helping to compensate for the gaps that remain. Thanks for letting us know where cards can be sent. I hope you’re able to let go of some of the strain and tension of the past week. LuvU Darlin’


  3. I am so thankful you had regular phone visits with your brother and acted quickly. I work for a cardiac office here in Kansas City and we treat atrial fibulation, heart disease, and vascular disease. I know another family member who was diagnosed with carotid blockage who had surgery to correct the condition. I am going to ask one of my providers to order a scan for me this week. I’ve been putting it off because I’m in denial. Not any longer. I hope Ricky receives the best care possible. He will be able to improve greatly, I’ve witnessed amazing people everyday, All my Love, Olene


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