This is Part 2 of a series where I discuss my recent visit to the hospital where I discovered I had a mild Ischemic Stroke.
You can read Part 1 in this article, How My Plant-Based Diet Saved My Life
So what happens in the hospital when they suspect you had a stroke?
I can tell you, after checking into the registration window of the Emergency Room, they call you back VERY QUICKLY!
And it was just the other side of that ER door where I was instantly bombarded by a team of technicians, nurses, and doctors.
They are assessing how responsive you are by asking your name and birthday (and if you have any speech problems) and checking for muscle weakness by asking you to squeeze their fingers.
At the same time, they are preparing an ER bed for you, checking your vitals, and contacting the neurologist for orders.
They will most likely have you change into a gown, get prepped for an IV, and hooked up for an EKG while they get ready to do a CT scan and MRI.
They may inject a dye into your IV for contrast, and I will say, for me personally, this was the most uncomfortable part of any of the tests - as you all of a sudden feel very warm (they said you will feel like you are peeing your pants).
Afterward, they will hook up an IV drip of saline to flush out the dye, so count on many trips to the bathroom (if they allow you to go by yourself).
You may also have an Echocardiogram (which uses sound waves to look at your heart and/or carotid arteries in your neck) and mostly like have blood drawn.
The MRI is the one test for sure that will show you if you had a stroke or not. All my tests were normal, but as you can see, the MRI showed otherwise.
After The Stroke
After all the tests have been completed, you can pretty much count on spending the night as they will want to monitor you to make sure you don't have another stroke.
In my case, it was late in the evening before I actually got a room. Since we had been in the ER since noon, neither my wife or I had had anything to eat since breakfast and were starved.
As luck would have it, the cafeteria was about to close, but because I had mentioned that I was vegan (many times), one of the nurses has ordered us some food.
Ahhh - vegan hospital food. NOT a pretty sight.
If I remember correctly, they brought us a small plate of Crudités (raw veggies) and hummus, and a Garden Burger with potato chips. All part of a good heart-healthy meal you know. ?
It was oily and gross - but we were starved so we ate what we could.
Breakfast the next morning was a bowl of glue (I mean oatmeal), some fruit, 1 single piece of toast (with margarine of course), and some oily hash browns.
I think they brought me lunch too before I escaped, but I can't remember what it was. It just goes to show you how good it was.
In addition to teaching the medical staff the basics of nutrition in Med School (because I had 2 nurses try to explain to me that plants have cholesterol too), clearly, we need some healthier food options in their cafeterias.
So, in case you were wondering if hospital food is as bad as you may have heard it was..... it is.
You will also be asked to take some meds.
In my case, they gave me a Statin (because my cholesterol was elevated), and Plavix (an antiplatelet to make your blood cells less sticky).
On my release, they also gave me 4 prescriptions to fill.
- Lipitor (statin)
- Plavix (antiplatelet)
- Losartan (blood pressure)
- Baby Aspirin (blood thinner)
My instructions were as follows:
"You should take aspirin and Plavix for 1 month, then stop aspirin and continue Plavix lifelong."
Lifelong - as in - the rest of my life?!?!
One of the side effects of taking aspirin and Plavix is your blood may become too thin and you run the risk of bleeding to death (internally or externally if you cut yourself).
I remember I had some nasty looking bruises - just from bumping my arm. Nasty stuff.
As you read in my previous article, I am no longer on ANY medicines, and I think I made that happen by what "I" did to treat myself once I arrived home.
And I will go into that ....in my next and last article of this series.
Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. A long time health nut and 90% vegan, I have HBP and stroke in my family ... and know this is a change I need to make as well. I love your list of foods you cut out after your stroke. I will print it and use it. Are your recipes sorted BS or AS? (Before stroke vs after stroke?). I want to stick to the AS recipes. Once again, thank you so much for sharing with us!!
Hi Chuck. My son and I love your recipes. We enjoyed cheesy sauce and cauliflower taco "meat" over pasta tonight.
I wanted to pass along this news article linking blood clots to COVID-19. I imagine you've come across it by now; I thought of your recent experience and wondered.
Thanks for sharing your journey and recipes.
Glad to hear your doing well. Thank you for sharing your story. Looking forward to the third installment. I struggle with high choleteral too. Despite being totally WFPB..for over 6 years...still got 30 lbs to loose. So frustrating. I am a 10 year breast cancer survivor..who started transitioning after my medical encounter in Sept 2009. Mastectomy....chemo...reconstruction...
Take good care. Cindi
So glad you are doing so much better. By the way, not all hospitals have horrible food. I was blessed enough to live in an area that had an Adventist Hospital. Unfortunately, it was badly damaged in the Camp fire in 2018. Before then they had wonderful food and many of the doctors were graduates of Adventist Universities so they actually asked about our lifestyle and made sensible suggestions
So happy you are doing so well and you have shared your story and particularly reinforcing the signs of a stroke. Lost my mom after she suffered a stroke even though we got her to the hospital ASAP.
Glad also we’re starting to see some hospitals improving their diet offerings!
I'm so glad to hear you are ok and are off all the meds. Take good care!
I went through that about 2 years ago this summer. But, I was out of town visiting my sister in Boise, ID. We went to the urgent care and I was transported to the hospital by ambulance. My symptoms were a sustained episode of vertigo, The first time I went they said to come back if the symptoms aren't gone in x number of days. After the 3rd visit I was admitted, but unlike you, they wouldn't feed me until the next day. The hospital had wonderful vegan choices that were tasty. I wasn't having a stroke, they did 3 tests, done with and without contrast. I believe it was CT, MRI and MRA. I was quite impressed as they had therapy dogs on the floor and I got to visit. My dog works as a therapy dog so it was fun to be on the receiving end for once. I got to know first hand what wonderful work they do on the receiving end. Any way, no stroke for me, but the episode lasted quite awhile longer and I haven't had one since. I understand how terrified you and your family must have been. Yay for a great outcome!
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am at risk for stroke and although I've been vegan since last fall, the no SOS had been inconsistent and my portion control can omprove - so my weight loss had stopped. This is a reminder of what may happen if I don't get down to business and lose the weight.