Welcome to our CaringBridge website for Shawn Ashby who suffered a large stroke on April 4th, 2019. We are using this site to keep family and friends updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. We have started a GoFundMe account to help with medical expenses. The following story is an account of the day of Shawn’s stroke. Thank you for visiting.
Thursday was a normal day. Shawn mentioned that he felt a little sick. He had complained of being nauseated for several days. That morning, I remember that he made me breakfast and walked the dog out onto the driveway to wave goodbye.
I went to work at the VA Hospital in Kansas City. It was a busy day. I called Shawn to see what he was up to and let him know I would be late coming home from work. He didn't answer the phone, which was not unusual. I left a message, sent a text, and called several more times. Finally, around six I called to let him know I was on my way home. (It's about a 30-40 minute drive.) He never answered any of these messages.
Since Shawn retired from teaching, he has enjoyed making our meals each evening. But when I came into the house on Thursday night, I noticed that nothing seemed right. He didn't answer when I called his name and no little dog ran to meet me.
I went to the bedroom and found him on the floor by the settee in front of the TV. I asked him what was going on and he answered "nothing.. I don't know," in a funny voice like cartoon character. Such jokes are also not entirely unusual, as Shawn has a habit of feigning the need for medical attention. I couldn't tell if this was prank or real. It took me a few moments, but I eventually ended up dialing 911 with Shawn’s begrudging approval.
Looking back, I'm not sure when he had the stroke. It may have happened as early as noon. His phone, which was in the room with him, has an activity log that showed that the phone hadn’t been moved since 11:00am. We think that he was probably sitting on the settee in our bedroom, had the stroke, and couldn't move. Shawn doesn’t have any marks or bruising, so I suspect he sat there for a while, maybe slumping over until he slowly slid to the ground. We’re thankful that there seems to be no indication that he fell or that he was on the ground for a long time.
After finding Shawn in our room and calling 911, we went to the nearest hospital (Centerpoint.) However, they transferred him to Research Medical when they realized that it had been too long from the time of the stroke for the clot busting medication, with hopes that the Research Medical team would be able to remove the clot with a more invasive intervention. When we got to Research, the doctor indicated that the amount of damage already incurred by the clot, and the location of the clot meant that such a procedure was no longer recommended. The way we understand it is that at this point, the clot had done as much damage as it could do – removing it would not prevent any further damage, but perturbing his already injured brain with an intervention might.
Since arriving at Research early Friday morning, Shawn was monitored in the Neuroscience ICU for 5 days. During this time he was monitored very closely for brain swelling with continual neuro checks, CT scans, and MRIs. He got some check ins from neurosurgery as well. Luckily, the swelling in Shawn’s brain was not enough to warrant surgery and by the end of the five days had gone down considerably.
Today, Shawn has severely reduced feeling/movement on left side of face, shoulder, arm, and leg. The CT scan of his head showed a large clot on the right side of his brain. We’re thankful that his speech, cognition, and memory were relatively untouched by the stroke, but are still learning the extent of his physical deficits.
He remains sleepy but oriented. His speech is slurred but he is able to express his wishes and make requests. His vital signs are stable, and he has no significant signs of brain swelling. Shawn is visited daily by speech, occupational, and physical therapists. Our goals have now shifted to recovery and rehabilitation, and Shawn will be moving sometime in the next week or so to a rehab facility. We appreciate any and all support during this journey. - Chris Ashby