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When the stroke occurred


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I was sleeping on the bed when Patrick's stroke occurred. In my sleeping haze, I remember hearing shuffling going on in our room which I interpreted to being Patrick changing out of his workout clothes. But remembering this is almost more of a feeling than a memory-I was sleeping pretty good.

 

The next thing I remember is hearing shampoo bottles falling in the bathtub. I was annoyed by the sudden sound, but thought very little of it and resumed my slumber. I don't know how much time passed- it could have been 10 minutes, it could have been 60 seconds, I was sleeping and my concept of time was not reliable- but I heard the noise of shampoo bottles being dropped again. This time, I can remember waking up a bit more and wondering if my son had decided to take a bath and play instead of it being Patrick in there taking his after-treadmill shower. I was trying to identify who was in the shower making all the racket, without actually opening my eyes, when suddenly it sounded like the entire shower was being ripped apart.

 

I jumped out of bed and opened the door into the bathroom. Patrick was lying on the floor, wet, naked, and looking very angry. I asked him what happened, thinking he had lost his balance due to taking a too-hot of a shower or something. I saw the shower curtain in the tub and the curtain rod laying next to him. I asked him again what happened. He started to try to sit up, but he ended up pushing himself around the floor. Our bathroom is small, and there isn't much extra floor space when a 180lb man is in the middle of it. He pounded his fist into the floor in what looked like anger. I asked him if I needed to call an ambulance, thinking he would finally calm down enough to respond to me. He did not say anything.

 

I had up to this point figured he had fallen and was so *beep* off about it, that he had not be able to respond out of sheer anger. But when I asked him again if he needed an ambulance and the only response I got was a confused look, and now seeing what appeared to be foaming at the mouth, I told him I was calling it. I called the ambulance and returned to him and waited for help to arrive. I tried to get him to calm down; it was like he was trying so desperately to 'right' himself- constantly trying to sit up but sliding back down. I noticed he was bleeding on his head, and I was unsure if he hit his head in the shower which caused this, or, if he hit his head when he fell.

 

Soon my son was upstairs asking what was happening. I told him an ambulance was on the way and I was unsure what had happened to Patrick. The ambulance arrived and they started asking me questions. Was Patrick known to have seizures? Did it appear he was having a seizure on the floor? I didn't know...he WAS foaming at the mouth...but I've never really seen someone having a seizure right in front of me, maybe from a distance or on TV...I guess it could have been a seizure...

 

They asked me what hospital we wanted to use, and I didn't know, so I blurted out the hospital listed on our poster at work for worker comps. They asked me if I wanted to ride in the ambulance or drive there. I told them I would follow in our car. (I don't have friends in this town, so I didn't think I would be able to find anyone to take us home later.) They told us not to panic if they turned on the lights or siren and not to try to keep up if they started speeding, running lights, etc. I said okay.

 

I remember wondering if we would miss Brandon's karate class that night and the premiere of SURVIVOR. I was in denial about the severity of the situation, and though we would get to the hospital and they would tell me he's fine, he just fell in the shower and bumped his head. I had a very hard time believing he would be there overnight. In my experiences with the ER as an adult, we had only ever been to one to get my son stitched up a couple different times nothing else.

 

So my son and I got in the car and followed the ambulance about a mile and a half when it flipped on the lights and siren and took off. I did not panic, but obviously, I was more scared now. I tried to watch where the ambulance turned and what streets it was on, but before I knew it, it was out of sight.

 

I pressed on, seemingly stopped at every red light and became lost. I could not find the hospital. I had followed the ambulance into an unknown neighborhood. And the streets here never run N ans S or E and W. They all run diagonally through town, curve around...UGH!!! I officially panicked. I pulled into a convenience store and asked the man working where the hospital was. He and a customer looked at each other as if to say, 'shall I take this or you' but neither answered. It then became 'Well, you follow this street till you get to the top of the hill where it curves...' cue other man...'Yeah, or she could'... I burst into tears. "Will one of you PLEASE tell me how to get there, my husband has been taken in an ambulance. I need to get there." The customer said, "Let me pump my gas and you can follow me."

 

I went outside and waited for him to pump his gas and tried to reassure my son who was now officially panicked, too. We followed the man to the hospital and ran to the ER. We were about 15 minutes later than the ambulance. They looked at me like, 'Where the hell have you been.' I was taken to Patrick where he was looking a bit more relaxed. I asked him how he was feeling and got no response. His eyes were locked onto mine, but he said nothing. I tried to reassure him that he would be fine, we were at the hospital now, and they would take care of him.

 

The staff came in and out, asking me questions, trying to figure out the problem. Because he was "too young for a stroke", it was probably some kind of seizure or possibly a mini stroke.

 

While we waited to figure out what they were going to do, we had several calls in the room from his family and close friends. I had alerted his nearest sister right after we arrived, and she had started calling people for me. At this point, most people wanted to know if they should start driving to our town. I didn't know- come if you want?? Come if you can??? I knew I certainly needed someone... He saw me on the phone with people and reached out for the receiver. This was the first 'normal' thing I'd seen him do. He listened as the people talked to him, and his eyes seemed to light up when his best friend called and when his other son called. He even whispered the words "okay" and "hey" while on the phone!

 

Soon the neurologist started asking questions again, tried to get me to show them what he was doing on the bathroom floor... She told me it was probably a small seizure and sometimes the brain swells causing the inability to speak temporarily. She told me they would take him up for a cat scan.

 

Hearing that it was probably a seizure was a huge relief. The relief didn't last long.

Kristen

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