3 ̶ Recovery
It was probably on Monday, May 1, that I was wheeled into a department where I began therapy. The speech therapy was really basic stuff. The neurologist would say four or five words and ask me to repeat them. Every time, I got two or three of them without fail. The physiotherapist would ask me to stand on one foot for a whole minute. I never managed that ̶ that was really tough. She asked me to go for a walk, turn a couple of corners, climb one flight of stairs, and return. That was a piece of cake. I was ready to do somersaults.
What about procedures performed on me? The first record in my chart, dated Saturday, April 29, described my first diagnostic procedure. It was a heart ultrasound, technically called a Carotid Doppler Imaging, ordered by Dr. B. Technically, it was Greek and Latin jumbled up hopelessly with some plain English.
“Peak systolic velocity right internal carotid artery is 62 cm/s, CCA 67 cm/c with a ratio 0.92.” I plainly understood the words “peak”, “is” and “a”.
Apparently, there was no urgency in scheduling further diagnostic procedures because next came an MRI Head Scan on Tuesday, May 2. Apparently I agreed to that scheduling because I did not register a complaint. Dr. S. ordered the Magnetic Resonance Imaging. One line in the full page description stands out: “Skull base reveals no abnormality.” Apparently the procedure did not shrink my head. That was good news. I think.
On the same day, Dr. S. ordered a Carotid Angiography. I remember being told they were taking an angiogram ̶-“gram” meaning “picture”, and “angio” meaning “of ankles”. Everyone knows what an angiogram is. One line in the description stands out: “The cervical, petrous, cavernous, and supraclinoid ICA is patent, without stenosis, aneurysm, dissection, or thrombosis.”
Which I interpret to mean I have a distended cervix, somewhat petrified; however, a super clinician with patented scalpels with cut out the aneurysm or thrombosis located in my chest (sternum). All good news. As far as I could tell.
Nobody made an effort at any time to inform me of a diagnosis or a prognosis, but on my prompting, a nurse would suggest everything was looking good. Doctors remained aloof.
The chart that Dr. Z. shared with me had further details of angiographic findings, including “the midline structures are essentially unremarkable”, suggesting that I have not gained an ounce of weight about the waist.
That is true. Over two weeks I lost some ten pounds, thanks to a diet of alleged foodstuffs unrelieved by taste or texture. Thanks for that. I mean that sincerely. I did not need the ten pounds.
In my chart, under the heading of Discharge Diagnosis, the first notation was “new onset of atrial fibrlillation”. I had heard vaguely about “a-fib”. Further notations indicate I had both a CT scan of my head and an echocardiogram but no abnormalities were detected. These procedures were not dated in the chart.
The Discharge Diagnosis did note that I was doing well even though I still had difficulties expressing myself and “had a visual field defect that was improving”. I did indeed have difficulty finding the right words, and Dr. B. had pointed out that my peripheral vision on my right side was impaired. Still, my ability to read had improved quickly as well as my ability to solve simply math problems, such as 3 + 5 – 2. I still believe the right answer is 4 if you divide my age by 19.
Conclusion: “He would benefit from a short interval of time at 3 North.”
I was leaving the regional hospital acute care. That’s what I gathered from the buzz from medical personnel from Monday onward. I fondly believed I was well enough to go home.
By Wednesday, I had resigned myself to moving to a rehabilitation facility. A paramedic and an escort drove me to St. Joseph’s Care Group on North Algoma. I arrived in Ward 3 North in time for supper. But no one offered me supper. I was relieved.