On the walk to the Emergency Room, our mother kept insisting that she was ok. My twin sister pointed out a penny on the sidewalk. “See there. Pick it up. That’s a good sign,” said our mother. She then said she was going to tell the E.R. doc that she injured herself falling the night before. But when we got to the E.R. my twin sister, Akwelle, immediately told the E.R. receptionist that she thought our mom was having a stroke. Our mom was rushed to an examining room. “Code Red: Stroke,” was announced over the loud speaker. My mom was allowed only one visitor in the examining room. My twin sister stayed with her while I sat in the E.R. lounge.
I started thinking about how earlier in the week, at home, I had seen a little white cloud in the house. It was slowly floating, rotating like a wheel through the breakfast room. “Was that a sign of something bad or something good?” I thought. I had also seen this weird lady at the grocery store. She had this thin cob-web like string coming from the top of her head. It moved with her wherever she went. I could not figure out where it originated. I blinked my eyes several times but I still saw it. I must admit it–every once in awhile I do see unusual things.
Back in the E.R. waiting area, I finally decided I should just go back to sit with my mom and twin sister. I figured the E.R. check in people were not keeping track of which one of us (twins) was where anyhow. This worked out perfectly. The E.R. doc was talking to my sister outside the examining room. She said the Cat Scan showed no bleeding on the brain but she said she was concerned because clearly our mom was either having a TIA or a real stroke. She talked about a drug called tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) that she could give our mom. “But, I won’t– because there’s only a short window to give this drug and if your mom had a TIA last night and then another one today, then that window has closed. It is too dangerous. It could even kill her. There is no way I am risking that. She will have to stay here overnight for observation,” she said.
- tPA or tissue plasminogen activator (from http://www.strokeassociation.org):
The only FDA approved treatment for ischemic strokes is tissue plasminogen activator (tPA, also known as IV rtPA, given through an IV in the arm). tPA works by dissolving the clot and improving blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood flow. If administered within 3 hours(and up to 4.5 hours in certain eligible patients), tPA may improve the chances of recovering from a stroke. A significant number of stroke victims don’t get to the hospital in time for tPA treatment; this is why it’s so important to identify a stroke immediately.
My twin sister and I went into the examining room to sit with our mother. She was eating a turkey sandwich. “You should go home. I am fine. Pick me up tomorrow. Go home and walk Kookaburra,” she said.