When to be concerned about dizziness

When to be concerned about dizziness

My husband called out for me upon waking that morning, which is not normal for him. I was out in the living room cuddling with our 16 year old Maltese, Sparty, trying to spend every minute I could with him because his health was declining.

When I walked down the bedroom, my husband said he was feeling “weird” and had a problem getting out of bed and keeping his balance to walk the short distance to the bathroom.

Just a few minutes prior, he was wrestling with our 3 year old Maltese in bed like they do every Saturday and out of the blue he was hit with this dizziness.

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.

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

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 176/96.

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

Takeaways:

  • 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.

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