An Unusual stroke

An Unusual stroke

I finished my 2019 year plan on Friday, January 25.

On Saturday, January 26,  my husband and I had decided it was time to go put our 16-year-old Maltese, Sparty, down.  

Saying goodbye

We had accepted the fact that we were keeping him around more for us and it wasn’t the best thing for him.

I woke early Saturday and cuddled with Sparty as much as he would let me.

About an hour later, I heard Jeff stirring around and heard him doing his usual routine, wrestling on the bed with our 3-year-old Maltese, Puhi.

About 5 minutes later, Jeff called down the hall to me calmly “Melanie, something’s weird”.

I went down to the bedroom to see what was “weird”. Jeff told me he felt dizzy all of a sudden.  He got up to go to the bathroom and kind of stumbled.  You know when you just wake up and are kind of dizzy ….Like that.

He started to feel nauseous from the dizziness and ended up getting ill.  He went to lay back down hoping that would help.  It didn’t.  He got up to go to the bathroom again and this time, I needed to assist.  He got so dizzy he couldn’t make it back to the bedroom, so I made a bed on the floor and he laid there.

Jeff laid on the floor for about an hour… dizzy, sweating and vomiting.

Change of Plans

It was time to get into the hospital.  I drove, but wouldn’t suggest that.

Waiting to get a room in ER

In ER, a CT Scan of his brain was done which revealed nothing unusual.  The nurse came back and told us it’s probably a bad case of vertigo.  About 15 minutes later, the Doctor came in and shared something seemed a little odd (blood pressure high and heartbeat low)

So, Jeff was admitted and then taken for an MRI.  A Neurologist came in and said it appeared Jeff had a stroke and said he planned to keep Jeff to be observed over the weekend, but he should go home Monday.

We were shocked…a  stroke?!  The only experience we knew from strokes, was death, becoming paralyzed, cognitive disruptions.  That’s crazy! Jeff was laying in bed, still very dizzy, but talking to us, completely aware of what was going on and no problems swallowing or raising his arms or legs.

Shortly thereafter, Jeff got a headache and was an 8 on the pain level.  He was taken back for an ultrasound and we then learned that there was a blockage.  His BP had shot way up 176/94.

Ready for a not so good nights sleep

I realized this is not cut and dry.  It is not “he just had a stroke, no big deal, you will be going home”.

Long story short, we (Jeff) ended up spending 7 days in ICU.  An IV with saline was administered to help relieve the swelling in the brain and a neurosurgeon was checking daily to see if the saline was working.  If the swelling continued, Jeff would have surgery to release the pressure. Thank God, the IV solution worked!

Our kids were such a support.

We learned that Jeff had a cerebellar stroke.  The area he had his stroke affects the left part of the body…often causing deafness in the left ear, balance issues and sometimes emotional impairment.

Three months later and he is back to work, has played golf and has started back on some house project, but tires out easily.  His balance is getting better and he is learning to adjust to his new perimeters.  As am I.

Stroke Signs


  • While the FAST test is a great way for most strokes, it wasn’t beneficial in diagnosing Jeff’s stroke. Not one of the signs applied to his situation
  • Always call an ambulance (if something had happened in the car on the way, I was not equipped to help him as well as a paramedic with equipment)
  • Take a baby aspirin right away
  • The majority of cerebellar artery dissections are caused by Chiropractor adjustments.
  • Do what it takes to lose weight if needed, and avoid salt
  • Get in some form of cardio at least 4 days a week
  • Vertigo that causes nausea and doesn’t go away should be checked out right away
  • Download voice recorder and record every conversation
  • Ask questions… do not be intimidated, but be respectful
  • Life can change in an instant

And back to Sparty

Our poor Maltese, Sparty, was put to rest the week that Jeff was in the hospital. My parents took him to the vet for me.

They shared with me that the vet told them Sparty was ready because as soon as they administered the medicine he was gone.  He had no fight left.  I miss him dearly but have the best memories of the blessing he was to our family.

RIP Sparty
2003 – 2019

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Comments (38)

  • Amy Kennedy Reply

    Oh Melanie,
    Oh what a traumatic thing to go through! I am so glad your husband is doing so much better!
    I really appreciate the list of warnings and suggestions you gave as well. Goodness I had no idea about a lot of those things! I am so sorry about your puppy, I know you gave him the best life ever. Goodness you even threw a birthday party for him! Keeping you and your husband in my prayers. Really an excellent post.

    June 8, 2019 at 4:22 am
    • Melanie Reply

      Thank you so much Amy! The thing is in this case, none of those warning signs pertained to Jeff. I’m just so thankful he was willing to go to the hospital for his dizziness. Thank you for reading!

      June 8, 2019 at 4:11 pm
  • Noel Reply

    What a terrible day, indeed. That is crazy about your husband’s stroke. Such an informative piece because I’ve not heard of this kind of stroke. Thank goodness he is so much better!

    June 8, 2019 at 4:17 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Thank you Noel. I’ve never heard of it either. We are thankful, indeed <3

      June 8, 2019 at 6:37 pm
  • Theresa Muth Reply

    How shocking! What a terrifying experience! As you said, nothing you would ever expect. Glad to hear he’s doing better. And so sad about your beloved pet. Never easy.

    June 8, 2019 at 6:53 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Thank you Theresa. It was a total shock. And this is the first time I’ve ever had to put a dog down…not easy, is right. XX

      June 8, 2019 at 6:58 pm
  • Lisa Reply

    What a scary time that must have been – and on the day you were saying goodbye to your sweet fur baby! Your story is a good reminder to all of us to: 1- be willing to go to the ER and 2- record the conversations, like you said. So glad to hear your husband is in the mend and that you have such special memories of Sparty.

    June 8, 2019 at 7:13 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment Lisa. I’m glad you found something to take away from this. Hugs, Melanie

      June 9, 2019 at 2:37 am
  • Pam Pazdra Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. Life can change so quick. I’m glad things are better now. I have two fur babies we had to say goodbye to as well. I feel they are still happy pups.

    June 8, 2019 at 7:16 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Thank you for taking the time to read Pam. This experience definitely changed some priorities. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through saying goodbye to your fur babies. That’s never easy. Xx

      June 9, 2019 at 2:32 am
  • Suzana Barton Reply

    Precious Friend, you know how hard it was for me to read this post. A) Because I care about you and reading your pain hurts me too. B) Because my husband suffered a stroke a few years ago as well, I feel empathy (beyond just pain.) — And we are still dealing daily with the after affects of Tommy’s stroke. C) Valen-Tino is a Maltese, and I can’t imagine life without our little doggie. He is my child. I love you, Mel. Neither one of us saw it coming that OUR husband could possibly have a stroke. Recognizing the F.A.S.T. symptoms is critically important for anyone (male or female), especially over 40. Thank you for sharing your experience. I know it wasn’t easy. But today is Best Friends’ Day. Knowledge is Is Power when it comes to taking care of the people closest to us, especially our at-risk-husbands.

    June 8, 2019 at 7:23 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Thank you, Suzana. You and Tommy have been such an encouragement for us. We will always remember your being so willing to share from your experiences. Definitely challenging times. Losing our Sparty was very hard, but it was harder seeing him suffer and be in pain, so that made it a little easier. Hugs MY precious friend! Xx..Melanie

      June 9, 2019 at 2:29 am
  • Rosemary Davis Reply

    Oh Melanie,

    Thank you so very much for sharing this very painful day with us.
    I am so happy to hear that your husband is doing better. We are all so aware of the typical signs of heart attacks and strokes, but need to be reminded of the not typical signs.

    It is so easy to slip into the it’s a virus going around mentally. Always better to act than to be sorry. Thankfully you did all the right things.

    I know this had to be hard for you to write, but you are doing us a great service.

    Losing a loved pet is never easy and making the decision to let go is heart wrenching. I know your sweet fur-baby enjoyed the best that life had to offer. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

    Lots of love coming your way girlfriend!


    June 9, 2019 at 8:41 am
    • Melanie Reply

      Rosemary…I so appreciate your thoughtful and compassionate response. It has taken me a while to process, but it’s important to share. I was just sure he was dealing with vertigo and we were going to get antivert and sent home.
      So true…better safe, then sorry Hugs, Melanie

      June 9, 2019 at 9:59 pm
  • Heidi Reply

    Thank you for sharing this. I cannot even imagine how hard this was to experience. I am so thankful for you that Jeff is ok and recovering well. I am curious about chiropractic care…can chiropractic care cause this type of stroke?

    June 9, 2019 at 2:25 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Thank you Heidi. Jeff was originally told he had a cerebellar artery dissection. The main cause is a trauma , like a chiropractic manipulation, according to Doctors, PT and some google searches. Every physicians first question…have you been to a chiropractor lately. He hadn’t.

      June 9, 2019 at 9:57 pm
  • Jess Reply

    Oh my goodness Mel, I’m so sorry all of this happened. That had to be scary! My hubby and I were at a brewery last summer and I saw my hubby’s eyes roll back as he missed reaching for his cup! I thought he was having a stroke. Glad you found out but still a trying time. I’m sorry about your baby bear, as I know what they mean to us. Best wishes to you.
    Jess xx

    June 9, 2019 at 8:53 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Oh Jess! Hope your husband is ok?? Yes, very scary and I so miss my Sparty but feel we made the right choice.
      Thank you for stopping by. Xo..melanje

      June 9, 2019 at 9:54 pm
  • Brenda Darwin Reply

    I am so sorry. Facing something like this is always so difficult. I’m so glad everyone is doing better, and moving forward.

    June 9, 2019 at 9:13 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Thank you so much Brenda. On the mend and so very grateful. Xx

      June 9, 2019 at 9:53 pm
  • Tommy Barton Reply

    Melanie, Thank you so much for your brave, heartfelt and valuable post, especially the part about the FAST test and recognizing the early signs of a stroke. This message should be shouted from the rooftop everywhere. Time is of the essence during a stroke. The faster you can get help to someone who is in trouble, the lesser the damage. Administering the “clot busting” drug, TPA, which is short for Tissue plasminogen activator, as soon as possible can be a Godsend. I know this because I suffered a stroke in 2015 and the TPA shot I received in the ambulance minimized the damage I suffered. Having a stroke is a life-changing experience, but I am grateful for the care I received and for having a loving and patient spouse, Suzana Barton — who has an IG account at happygreatday. Making lifestyle changes — diet and exercise, as you mentioned — is critical too. Good luck and God bless you and your husband.

    June 10, 2019 at 1:11 am
    • Melanie Reply

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting Tommy. Oh, I know very well what you two have been through. You two have been so helpful to us and we are so appreciative of your support and encouragement.

      June 10, 2019 at 7:05 pm
  • Noreen Bradford Reply

    Although we went through this almost unbelievable ordeal with Jeff (given his age), you and the kids, you expressed the harrowing and bewildering journey very well and I learned some new things. Events didn’t proceed as expected according to what the doctors were looking for and what was found on the internet. Jeff remained alert and asking detailed questions about his condition. In addition to marveling at God’s goodness throughout I was proud of how you and my grandkids stepped up and supported Jeff and took on responsibilities you weren’t prepared for, never imagining something like this could happen at this time in your lives–house renovation, a wedding, kids getting jobs and a beloved pet that was coming to the endow his life and BAM! This hit.and everything changed. Your blog is well written and informative and could conceivably save someone else’s life. Thanks for sharing. Love you much, Mom

    June 10, 2019 at 2:09 am
    • Melanie Reply

      Mom…want me to show you how to set up a blog? LOL! Love you lots and you and Dad were with us every step of the way and we are so very appreciative. Love you!

      June 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm
  • Cammi Reply

    Oh what a scary thing to have happen!!!! I appreciate you sharing this so we can all be a little more informed that strokes aren’t always “normal.” So happy to know things are better. Also, your sweet Sparty is adorable. It’s so hard when they leave this life, they are like our babies!!

    June 10, 2019 at 9:35 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Thanks for reading and commenting Cammi <3. Was definitely a shocker for us and very scary. Sparty was the best companion for so many years:)

      June 11, 2019 at 1:47 am
  • Kim Cook Reply

    Oh Mel, scary stuff. I am so glad Jeff is doing well. I enjoy seeing your photos.

    I know you miss your Sparty but what a fabulous life he had with you and Jeff!

    Much love,


    June 11, 2019 at 5:21 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Thank you Kim! It was scary, but so thankful it wasn’t worse and yes!! miss my Sparty xx


      June 14, 2019 at 11:44 pm
  • Jay Surber Reply

    Wow! I’m so thankful for all the steps you took to get Jeff the care he needed & glad to hear that he is getting back into his routines! I know how hard it is to make the deciding to say good-bye to your furry friend! Think on the good life he had with you & your good memories! Love you guys! ❤️

    June 17, 2019 at 8:19 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      So good to hear from you! Thank you for letting me know you were here. We have sweet memories with you guys!

      June 19, 2019 at 12:27 pm
  • jodie filogomo Reply

    Gosh,this is crazy, Melanie. It goes to show how life is so fragile. I would have been like you and drove him too. You just don’t think of all those other details.
    Thanks for sharing,

    June 17, 2019 at 10:08 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      So true, Jodie! Exactly about the driving. I probably did get him there quicker, but not the wisest thing.
      Thanks for reading!

      June 19, 2019 at 12:22 pm
  • Christina Simke Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story, Mel! So thankful Jeff is ok, praying for you guys and for a full recovery for him! I’m sorry for your loss with Sparty.
    I love that you desire to live your second act to the fullest and share your experiences with others! Keep on, friend! Hugs!

    June 18, 2019 at 12:28 am
    • Melanie Reply

      Christina….Oh, how I miss seeing you! So good to hear from you and thank you, thank you for your prayers.
      Much love to you and your sweet family,

      June 19, 2019 at 12:21 pm
  • Nancy shaffwr Reply

    Oh sister! I knew the story but hearing it told like this from your heart and with photos is heart wrenching. God is so good and glad that Jeff has been saved and you are able to share your experience with the world.

    The Sparty story is also amazing. A life well lived he had! I have some wonderful memories of him!

    Love you both so much😘

    June 18, 2019 at 12:15 pm
    • Melanie Reply

      Love you, Sister! It took a little while for me to process everything and if it helps one person, worth the time writing.
      Sparty is always a part of the Silkworth family memories.
      Love you guys!

      June 19, 2019 at 12:19 pm
  • Barbie Holmes Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story! How traumatic for all! I appreciate you listing the symptoms to watch for and call to action. I’m sorry about your sweet puppy. So much all at once. I’m so happy hubby is feeling better and the two of you are on a secret getaway destination in celebration of your 30th wedding anniversary! Cheers!! xo❤️

    June 24, 2019 at 5:33 am
    • Melanie Reply

      Awww…thanks for reading and commenting on Barbie. We’re here and having a wonderful time. Xo

      June 25, 2019 at 12:55 am

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