Having read the previous post and its comment thread, and having confirmed with Elise that she doesn’t mind having her medical stuff discussed on Making Light, Elise’s attending physician Dr. Salman Azhar has asked that we note two points of fact.
First, it really was a stroke, not a TIA.
Second, the fact that they were able to administer the anti-clotting TPA so soon after it happened was critical to the fact that, so far, the tests have shown practically no permanent damage.
This has been a public service announcement. Learn to recognize stroke in yourself and others.
(Elise wishes to report that in the throes of the actual event, she was tempted to just lie down and see if the symptoms would go away, but as she put it, “I then realized that Soren would kill me.”)
Elise may not have realized it, but just lying down was not an option. By the time she was mumbling about “Soren will kill me,” I’d already phoned 911, and the EMTs were on their way.
The episode started with her telling me that she was seeing differently out of each eye. If that had been all, I might have been persuaded that she just had a migraine coming on. But right after that she got mumbly, her sentences got shorter and lost their cunning, her ideation went flat, and she repeated three or four times that something was happening and she Didn’t Like It.
Diagnosis is easy when people can self-diagnose. When they can’t, they may still be aware that something isn’t right. Elise is normally a clear and forceful speaker. If something’s bothering her, she calls it by name, often in colorful detail. Yet here she was, repeatedly saying a thing that was vague and without force but somehow still troubled-sounding. That made my ears prick up. When she added a minute or two later that she was feeling “prickly” on one side of her body, boom, I was on the phone calling 911. And when the dispatcher asked how old Elise was, and Elise couldn’t remember the answer, I knew I’d been right to call.