There are times in all of our lives when we feel like we have nothing to worry about when it comes to our health or the health of our loved ones. My husband and I used to talk about his health and the fact he didn’t take any prescription medications. We got a rude awakening in 2019.
Todd never got sick much, other than maybe a cold or allergies. In 2013 we had a little scare with his heart where he had a heart catheterization and stent in a branch off the widowmaker. He took a prescription blood thinner for a year and then was told he would only need a baby aspirin every day. We considered that good news and didn’t really worry much about anything else. We would check his blood pressure, usually daily, but didn’t see anything alarming.
We were dealing with a very stressful situation with one of our businesses, apartment rentals, at the time but still didn’t even consider how it could be affecting either one of our health. But then Todd suddenly had a headache. The headache wasn’t too serious, more of a nuisance that we thought were sinuses. He took Benadryl and Tylenol and he didn’t complain much about it so I didn’t really think it was an issue.
A few days later, the headache got worse. It was bad enough that he wanted an ice pack for the back of his head. That afternoon he had an errand to run and took our Yorkie with him. He came home and seemed fine except his head still hurt. He took a short nap in his recliner and then was going to help me get supper ready. When he got up and came into the kitchen he told me the room was spinning. I immediately set him into a chair and took his blood pressure….it was 60/40. I thought this can’t be right and changed the batteries in the cuff. Took his pressure again and it was 258/110. Whoa!!!
He wanted to go back to his recliner, and I helped him get there and settled in but then he got sick. I knew without a doubt that something is horribly wrong and called 911. Thankfully they were quick getting to our house and quickly got him to the hospital.
At the hospital, his cognition was in tact and he could answer all of their questions. However, his blood pressure was so high he was blowing the cuff right off his arm. His eyes were moving back and forth uncontrollably. The hospital staff put him in stroke protocol, even though his cognition hadn’t changed much, they noticed enough of a difference to take him for a STAT CT Scan. I am so thankful they did this as they found a cerebellar hemorrhage.
The neurosurgeon on call was going to operate but then was concerned the bleed could be coming from somewhere else in his brain and ordered him to be sent by life-flight to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh. I am so thankful he was taken to Pittsburgh but little did we know the long journey to recovery that was ahead of us.
In the coming weeks, I will be writing several blog posts on this very subject. It was a long journey and there were some very scary moments. My writings will talk about his specific journey but also tell my story as a care-giver. I hope you will join me as I share our story of a scary health emergency and his road to recovery.