Update and Gratitude

I’m on the mend since my last post. My vertigo has recovered from everything seeming like it’s spinning fast 360 degrees last Thursday, to everything being normal now but a little “glitch” every once in a while where my vision seems to wiggle back and forth slightly. Unfortunately, that can result in a misstep and slight balance loss to the left or right. The walker is my safety net if that happens. I’m hoping I can also use two canes instead because that allows a more normal gait, the walker suppresses arm swing. I get an at-home PT visit tomorrow and hope she’ll agree.

First I want to thank all readers who expressed support. Second is to all the great care I received. The modern medical system gets a lot of flack. It’s true that it struggles with chronic conditions that are caused by poor diet and lifestyle, but it is superb at emergency medicine like this. The paramedics who showed up and transported me were great. The initial evaluation that made a diagnosis of stroke unlikely were impressive, including eye motion test, tests for facial drooping and speech issues. I remember they made me say a sentence with tricky words (I can’t recall it all, but it had “Cincinnati” in it) that would be difficult if I were experiencing a stroke. I must admit my anxiety level was high early on, or we wouldn’t have called 911. It was quite a relief when I heard the paramedic say “negative stroke” over his radio before we rolled.

Then the actions in the hospital were well-planned. First, they eliminated the most dangerous conditions, then stuck me in a bed and put “dizzy” and fall risk in my chart so I was stable. Then they moved on to solving the problem. St Louise is just a small community hospital. It is not Stanford Medical Center or the Mayo clinic. I’m sure there are local hospitals like this all over the US and the rest of the world. And in my experience, the care is pretty great. We hear about mistakes that are occasionally made on the news, but the day-to-day positive results need to be reflected on, especially in the time of Covid.

And these are wonderful human beings caring for us. I’ve never met a nurse or CNA (certified nurse’s assistant) or PT I didn’t like. Cranky people treat the call button like it’s room service and they still take good care of us. That’s why I try to always treat them with gratitude.

It’s true being in a hospital is not always a pleasant experience. They are noisy and hard to sleep in. You get woken up at 11 pm and 4 am or thereabouts, to get meds, have vitals taken, or even blood draws. But I remember that the people doing that are working the graveyard shift, and this is their job to keep me healthy, so am always friendly to them.

There was one funny quirk in this stay, I kept hearing this loud noise behind me, I thought someone was vacuuming the room next door with an industrial-strength machine. Why are they doing that at 4 am? I decided I was either going crazy or had the world’s worst case of tinnitus. It turned out it was my bed! Our mattresses were inflatable, and every time you moved enough it would turn the motor back on to help level you out. It made it comfortable. But I hope they come up with a version 2.0 of this bed with a quieter motor! This did not bother my sleep too much because I always wear earplugs in a hospital.

The final bit of gratitude I have to offer is for the care I get at home. But that requires its own post…

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