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.