The Day My Husband Had a Stroke

by Teresa Bennett 7 months ago in humanity

Life Changes in an Instant

The Day My Husband Had a Stroke

My name is Teresa and my husband's name is Paul. Today is May 30, 2017.

My husband is 55 and works in building maintenance for a local university. He is extremely active, always on the go.

Paul is one of those people that can't sit still, so a physical job is perfect for him. he's also very active at home, which works out great for me because he does most of the cleaning!

I’m a business analyst by trade and a business analyst trainer as my passion. I enjoy helping other people reach their full potential and training on a subject I’m knowledgeable about – and have a ton of experience in – is a great way for me to do that.

It’s a Tuesday and Paul and I are both getting ready for work. He leaves for work and picks up a co-worker that lives close to us – they take turns driving to work.

I leave shortly after him and the hectic day begins. Mid-morning I have a meeting with someone in HR. We’re hiring a junior business analyst and I’m meeting with HR to discuss the requirements for the job posting.

I come out of that meeting and look at my phone and notice I’ve missed a few calls from local numbers, but they are numbers I don’t recognize. As I’m looking at the phone trying to decide if I should call them back, my phone rings again. It’s my husband’s manager.

He tells me that Paul has been taken to the hospital and they believe he has had a stroke. I grab my purse from my desk and leave everything else there and head to my car. I’m trying to stay calm, but I’m not doing well.

Paul has had other health scares in the past, but I’ve always been with him when something has occurred. This is the first time I’m getting a call being told he’s been taken to the hospital.

On the way to the hospital (it’s a 20-minute drive to the hospital by his work), I call a coworker and let them know what happened since I realize I just left and didn’t let anyone know why.

I call my daughter (all 3 of our children are grown, but she’s the oldest) and let her know what has happened. We also have 2 sons, but I decided not to call them yet as I want to be sure I’m more calm before speaking to them and that I have more information to give everyone.

I finally get to the hospital and go to the emergency room. They send me back to his room and I see the coworker that brought him to the hospital standing in the hallway. We introduce ourselves to each other and I think I thanked him for getting him to the hospital – at least I hope I did!

I walk in the room and Paul looks at me and starts to cry. I start to cry.

I tell him to stop crying, that it's not good for him to get upset (not realizing he can't control it). I keep my hand on his and the nurse starts filling me in on what they have done.

He got to the hospital fast enough that they will be able to give him TPA – the drug that can help to reverse damage caused by a stroke. Before they give that to him though, his blood pressure has to come down. When he got to the hospital, his blood pressure was something crazy that I do not now remember. I know the top number was 227 (120 is normal), but I don’t remember the bottom number.

They are able to start the TPA not long after I get there and when that finishes, they will send him for another CT scan. There is a nurse and nurse assistant in the room and a nurse on a video monitor as well, which is new for me. I haven’t been exposed to remote care up to this point. But there’s always someone in the room so I don’t recall ever feeling like he wasn’t being carefully watched.

Paul is hard to understand as his speech has been affected. I learn from the nurse that his entire right side is paralyzed. At this point, I’m thankful he’s alive and I’m not focusing on the paralysis. My focus is on how to get him stable and what the next steps are.

I call my daughter and give her an update and then I call the boys and tell them what happened. He does not want to see the kids (he doesn’t want them to see him in that state) so I tell them that he wants to get settled into his room and that he’s going to rest and they should just plan on coming the next day to see him.

After completing the TPA and the scans, the doctor comes in to confirm that he did, in fact, have a stroke (they have to confirm with the scans even though it was obvious) and they will be admitting him. They cannot say what his recovery will be, every stroke patient is different.

I don’t remember what time we got admitted to ICU, but it was in the afternoon.

From this point on, life will never be the same...for either of us.

Teresa Bennett
Teresa Bennett
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Teresa Bennett

I am a caregiver to my stroke survivor husband. I also work full-time managing a business analyst team and providing BA training. I enjoy reading and I'm an avid fan of continual learning!

See all posts by Teresa Bennett