Last 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 told 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 a 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:
Froedert & Medical College of Wisconsin
5-NW Nursing Unit
9200 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53226
- What’d you say about a stroke? (optimismandme.wordpress.com)
- Imaging Tests Used to Diagnose Stroke (everydayhealth.com)
- Types of Strokes – Hemorrhagic and Ischemic (everydayhealth.com)