I’m back!! I took the week off of blogging to study for my neurology exam today. Now it’s over and I’m back to normal!
I’ve learned so much through this neurology rotation; I’ll be writing a post about all the great things I learned soon 🙂
One thing I’ve come to realize is that neurologic illnesses are very personal. They not only affect the patient, but they have a huge impact on families. In order to be the best doctor, one must understand that you’re not only treating the patient. You have to support the family as well! To better understand neurologic illness, a blogger friend Julie graciously offered to share her story of dealing with an illness in the family. I hope it sheds some light on what these families go through. I know it will offer strength and hope.
Here it is!
March 15th, 2000.
At 1:00 a.m. I woke up to my mother sharply calling my name. I was in grad school at the time and had just moved back in with my parents. My father wasn’t feeling well. At all. He stated he had the worst headache of his life, and on top of that he was dizzy and couldn’t stand up. I called 911, a scary thing to do because you’re afraid you will answer the questions the wrong way and they won’t send help. But they did.
The paramedics took my dad to the hospital and we followed. The attending physician walked up to us and said “I believe he is having a stroke. We are going to take a CT scan. You have to prepare yourselves for the possibility that he won’t make it through the night.”
And then he walked away.
We were frozen. The resident stayed behind for a minute and told us that really we couldn’t predict what would happen, and that it was just as possible that my dad would live. We called my sister and she rushed over, leaving her husband and baby at home.
The diagnosis was a hemorrhagic stroke in the cerebellum and required surgery to remove the dead tissue, and to relieve the pressure on the brain stem. It was a 6 hour procedure and we were grateful to have family and friends sit with us.
What followed was nearly a month of visiting my dad in the ICU before and after school. They kept him in a medically induced coma during that time, while they slowly weaned him off all the tubes they had stuck in him (breathing, feeding, drainage, etc…)
After hearing that he would not survive (he did), that he would never wake up (he did), that he would never walk again (he did eventually), he spent several more weeks in the hospital until moving to the inpatient rehab centre. It was a tough road getting him to start his therapies, but eventually he made enough progress to go home on September 15th. He had been away from home for half a year.
There was a major shift my parents had to figure out. My mom had to take on a lot of the activities my dad had been responsible for, while my dad tried to find ways to spend his days. He could not return to work as a Library Director; too much had changed.
My parents found new adventures by starting to travel. My dad started a local stroke survivors’ association. He had another stroke several years ago but it was mild and he has recovered extremely well. While not every day is a perfect day, my mom and dad have made things work.
And that makes me happy. As you can see, it makes my whole family happy
Photo of my sister, my parents and I taken this past summer, courtesy of Sarelle Photos .
Thank you so much Julie for sharing your story!
Does anyone else have experience with a neurologic illness like a stroke, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis? I would love to hear your story!