Another test

I don’t often hear from my brothers. It’s not because we are at odds, but we’re not the call-you-up-just-to-chat types, I guess. So when I saw his name and number on my phone today, I couldn’t help it: I thought the worst, and the worst has something to do with either my mom or my dad. It was dad. Mike said he was at the hospital with Dad and they suspected he’d had a stroke. When my parents were getting ready to leave their house earlier that morning, my Dad started acting strangely. He came back in the house and called my mom out to see what someone had done to their garage. He couldn’t figure out who would have painted it and messed all his stuff up. In truth, they had just finished repainting it themselves a week or two earlier, and he had just finished reorganizing his garage treasures. Understandably, my mom was concerned and asked him a few more questions that he couldn’t answer. He wasn’t disoriented; he just couldn’t remember what he’d eaten for dinner the night before (or breakfast, for that matter) and other questions Mom asked him. She called his doctor and they went over to see him. The doc checked him out and sent him to the hospital. Physically, aside from having a little trouble getting into the car, he seemed OK.

The rest of the day consisted of a CAT scan and many other tests, all which came back negative for a stroke. Still, he couldn’t remember anything from earlier in the day and kept asking Mom and my brothers why he was in the hospital. After I talked with Tom (the ‘resident’ doc in the family, har har) he said they thought Dad was suffering from TIA, or Transient Ischemic Attack. From what I read online, a “TIA is a ‘warning stroke’ or ‘mini-stroke’ that produces stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce your risk of a major stroke.

Most strokes aren’t preceded by TIAs. However, of the people who’ve had one or more TIAs, more than a third will later have a stroke. In fact, a person who’s had one or more TIAs is more likely to have a stroke than someone of the same age and sex who hasn’t.

TIAs are important in predicting if a stroke will occur rather than when one will happen. They can occur days, weeks or even months before a major stroke. In about half the cases, the stroke occurs within one year of the TIA.

TIAs occur when a blood clot temporarily clogs an artery, and part of the brain doesn’t get the blood it needs. The symptoms occur rapidly and last a relatively short time. Most TIAs last less than five minutes. The average is about a minute. Unlike stroke, when a TIA is over, there’s no injury to the brain.” (I took this from

For now, he’s going to stay in the hospital so they can run some more tests, including a neurological exam and a carotid doppler test (which probably has a more technical name). No one really knew what the course of treatment, if any, would be. Hopefully, he can sleep tonight and so can my mom. I pray for her peace, as they do everything together and even spending the night apart will probably be hard for her–and him.

My dad called me this evening and I talked to him for about ten minutes. It sounded like him, and he was talking just like himself. He even said, “Well, I knew the CAT scan would be negative because there’s nothing up there anyway!” which is just like him. But he couldn’t remember anything that had happened that day at all, including his trip to the docs or how he’d gotten to the hospital. It was just gone. (When he was asked questions earlier upon arrival at the hospital, he couldn’t name all his grandkids at first, though their names did come back to him, and he couldn’t name the president, although he did know he was a tall black man.) He said he felt fine, but was boggled by his memory loss. I was so thankful to have the chance to talk to him, partly because I put off calling him yesterday and then never got around to it, even though I know better. Today I got to say “I love you, Dad,” even if he won’t remember that we talked. I hate being 370 miles away from just going to the hospital to see him and talk to him or sitting with my mom and staying with her so she doesn’t have to be alone, but for now, I feel like I should stay put. Hopefully we’ll have a few more answers after his tests, but for now, I’m just praying that he’s OK.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Rebecca
    Aug 20, 2010 @ 06:59:13

    We’re praying for you (and family) Deb!


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