The morning after the E.R. visit, an MRI revealed that our mom did indeed have an ischemic stroke.
Types of Stroke (from http://www.strokeassociation.org):
- Ischemic stroke occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. It accounts for 87 percent of all stroke cases.
- Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures. Two types of weakened blood vessels usually cause hemorrhagic stroke: aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). But the most common cause of hemorrhagic stroke is uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure).
- TIA (transient ischemic attack) is caused by a temporary clot. Often called a “mini stroke”, these warning strokes should be taken very seriously.
According to the neurologist, in addition to the ischemic stroke, it was also clear that our mother had been having mini strokes (TIAs) or infarcts on the right side of her brain for sometime– all contributing to her left side weakness.
FYI: In order for insurance to pay for any kind of inpatient rehabilitation, a patient is required to stay 3 nights in a hospital.
Initially, our mom was on track to stay the 3 nights at the hospital. The neurologist even anticipated that she would need only 2 weeks of inpatient rehab after that. But because of one hospital related blunder after the next, our mom’s stay was extended to 7 nights at the hospital. Things got so bad that my sister, Aellyn, decided to stay overnight in the hospital room with our mother. Our mom experienced everything from poor sanitation, to medication mishaps to insane roommates, to a broken bed, a broken toilet, insomnia, severe diarrhea, severe dehydration, blood pressure spikes and drops, difficulties finding inpatient rehabs (that would accept patients from this horrible hospital) and no weekend doctors on duty to help. The no weekend doctor part was the most egregious. Can you imagine a hospital with no weekend doctors? The day (and night) our mom experienced severe diarrhea, my twin sister, Akwelle, had to threaten to call 911 to get the E.R. doctor to come up and care for our mother. “Well, the only doc on duty is in the E.R. right now. And he’s busy with E.R. stuff,” said Nurse Amber. “If you don’t get that doctor up here, I will call the police and they will do it for you,” said Akwelle to the Nurse Supervisor. Those were the magic words because Dr. Emergency Room came right up!
The hospital stay took a real toll on our mom. By the end of the 7 nights, our beautiful mother, Alberta, was broken. She was physically, mentally and emotionally drained. She had aged at least 20 years in that one week. She begged us to get her out of there.
Finally, on the 7th night, we were able to get our mother into an inpatient nursing home/ rehabilitation facility.