My Mother, Carol, called 911 at 3:00 am on Thursday, July 30th. She had a stroke and the presence of mind to call. She is in ICU in Medford, OR where they are better prepared for her condition than Ashland where she lives.
She is being monitored closely, with a number of complications that make it difficult to treat. Having both very high blood pressure and a dangerously low heartbeat, they are at opposite ends of a spectrum making treatment better for one and worse –to-extreme for the other.
With a clear mind, with the doctor in her room and me on the phone in Portland, she made the call to accept a blood thinner to treat the blood clot that’s causing the stroke, that would certainly worsen and would likely be fatal without. The risk is a brain bleed with no warning or timeline from the blood thiner administered intravenously, but they can more quickly reverse it if this were to occur. It remains a risk she is taking and that all of us have supported.
I bolted for Ashland and saw her in the ICU that afternoon where she was both cognizant and exhausted.
Her stroke symptoms include double vision and a dizziness that has made it difficult to stand and walk, a lowering of her heart rate and some sensation on one side that was not visible to me. She will be in the hospital through the weekend at least, very likely longer.
She's exceedingly tired from being woken up every hour for various testing and monitoring, with sleep being the best state for healing. Another challenge of cross purposes.
They have been working on getting her heart rate up and the consensus is that this is also connected to her stroke even though this has been an ongoing concern for some time now.
The good news as of Friday evening is that all these symptoms appear to be slightly better than when she arrived to the ICU. Thursday her heart rate was in the 30s, today it's in the 40s (60 being bare minimum for normal). Her double vision has improved slightly and the nurse reports she is taking a little less time to get dizziness down as she is moving for her PT. This all suggests blood is finding a way past the clot, all be it slow and slight.
Mom has been the primary caretaker for my father, Paul, who has dementia that moved to Alzheimer’s, so this is going to be a dramatic change for them both. There is no clarity on what mom will need going forward, while having a pretty clear idea of Dad’s progression and increased needs over time without a timing for his descent as it were.... But regardless, now is the time for her to retire from being Paul's caregiver and move to being his wife and accepting the support to do so. This I hope will not be as much of a challenge to accept as it has been up to now.
My mother has a stoic streak I was not as aware of until now, or till Dad’s care became harder than she could manage easily while insisting on still doing so. A long marriage of 68 years is something to honor, recognize, and now balance with her own well-being. Her community here in Ashland has long recognized this as I have, and we are all scrambling to create a new level of care that works for both of them.
My parents have managed to create an extraordinary crowd of people who love them and have jumped in with both feet to do anything they can, so I feel supported here in many ways as we move forward.
Endless thanks to all of the you who know and love her in all the communities Mom in particular has been a part of.
Thank you, Leah, for launching this site to keep everyone informed while lightening my load around endless updates.
The Compassionate Listening community that she has been a part of since the beginning in 1996 as the first trainer for Leah’s Middle East delegations along with Larissa Keet (and so much more...), is part of the legacy she is most comforted by in these wild and uncertain times. There are so many enormous contributions she has made, but this is not a eulogy.
Please send her healing energy, prayers, thoughts, whatever that means to you. Everything is energy, and she could use some right now… I will try to update as regularly as I can, moving forward.
Dad is listening to me as I write this and adds his gratitude to all of you.
Thank you from both of us...
Peter & Paul P.S. Carol's mind is untouched, thank God! Please write comments and messages for her below the updates so I can read them to her and Paul.