February 14, 2017 by CassieCravings
“Did I have a stroke?” My voice is weak and croaky. I am not sure I even want to ask the question. However, having awoken in Neurological Intensive Care Unit, I couldn’t see how the question could be avoided.
Apparently days have passed. Decisions have been made. While I have intermittently been conscious, my husband has conferred with multiple doctors, each one more specialized than the last.
He clears his throat. I’m not sure if he is more surprised by the question or that I am actually speaking. I can tell that he is choosing his words carefully, but he won’t sugarcoat it for me. He has always been matter-of-fact. It’s a quality that I , many times, find irritating. But not today. Today I need his frankness. He will tell me the facts fully and clearly. And for this I am already grateful.
My husband explains that I have CVST (Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis). It’s a form of stroke that occurs when a blood clot forms in the brain’s sinuses. It’s rare, with only five in a million people being affected each year. I will have the clot for many months until it dissolves and will be under careful and ongoing monitoring until then.
I listen to his explanation of what made me this way.
For awhile, I lie quietly in my hospital bed. I find little rest in the thin sheets and flat pillows. I try to push aside the constant ache of my head to process the information.
A stroke. I thought I had a sinus infection, but my body was warning me of an impending stroke.
Neither of us spoke for a while. Finally I muster the courage to ask my next question.
“Will I get better?” He nods his head slightly, cautiously. While there is swelling on my brain, a left side that is weak, and vision that is so blurry that my eyes are nearly useless, I will most likely make a full recovery.
I wait. The other shoe will drop. The caution has moved to his eyes. I see the worry. “If the clot moves or if things get bad, they might have to do a procedure to remove the clot. It’s dangerous. They don’t want to do it. Neither do I.” I shake my head to vote that I don’t want it either.
Again we fall silent. Again I turn the information about in my head.
“Why did it happen?” It seems to be such a silly question, so simple to ask and so complicated to answer. However, he doesn’t seem to find it odd. Perhaps he has been asking the same question. “Well, we’re not sure yet. But we will find out.” He smiles when he says it, and I believe him.
Silence befalls us again. This time it isn’t to work up the nerve to ask another question but to enjoy one another. It has been too long since we sat and just were. It’s odd to find peace in a curtained room with beeping machines hooked up to every unclaimed spot on my body.
I catch myself smiling. As long as the journey is ahead of us, I know that we have walked through the worst of it.
Part 5 is on the way!