Hi all, happy weekend to you! I’m new to this forum and just want to say thanks for all the valuable insights being shared here - I’m already learning so much as I read through your experiences and advice. However, I thought rather than lurking around maybe I should also share my story…
Almost 3 weeks ago I experienced a TIA while working from home. I was in the middle of a zoom meeting (standing up - I have one of those cool up and down desks ) when this sudden feeling of numbness came down the right side of my face and body and into my hand. I thought to myself “okay this is a bit odd, but I do feel quite stressed about this topic we’re discussing, it’s probably just that…” The weirdest thing is I felt otherwise fine to keep talking to this person on the call, but after a few minutes I eventually asked her if she minded me taking a moment to go and get some air as I wasn’t feeling right. I went off into another room and took a seat and some deep breaths, by which point the numbness in my face was beginning to subside… so probably around 5 minutes later I rejoined the meeting and we picked up where we left off, although my right arm still felt so numb that I had to use my left hand to control the uppy/downy desk and take a wee seat. It wasn’t until after the call finished I started googling stuff like trapped nerve / numbness on one side etc. and decided okay maybe time to call my GP. Annoyingly I couldn’t get through to them easily and the receptionist informed me I’d need to wait for a call back. While waiting on that I decided to keep doing some Googling and came across this video about TIA on the NHS website. This was the OMG moment…
Thereafter I decided to call NHS 24 instead of waiting on the GP, and they sent someone within 30 mins who assessed me and decided I needed to go to A&E. That ambulance crew (and all the hospital staff actually) were absolute angels
A bit of a wait later I was in the hospital having an ECG, CT scan and some bloods taken. The A&E doctor explained to me the ECG looked fine but there were some “abnormalities” in my brain from the CT scan, but they didn’t seem to account for the stroke because those “abnormalities” were on the right hand side and my numbness was also on the right hand side and the left controls the right. He recommended I needed an MRI and that the stroke team would come and talk to me. (Why is he calling it a stroke I wondered? I thought a TIA wasn’t as serious as a stroke? What the heck is an abnormality? Do I have some kind of brain tumour?).
A&E was seriously busy that afternoon - I don’t make a habit of frequenting it so not sure what “normal” is but they appeared pretty much stretched to the limit! I was moved into an observation unit, more waiting and was in overnight in the end. Meanwhile my thoughts were racing to all the worst possible scenarios. I had my MRI scan the next day late morning - that is not an experience to be repeated (hopefully) as I found it terribly claustrophobic The stroke consultant came to talk to me much later that afternoon to share the results - apparently they could see from the MRI I had an “abnormality” on the left side which would explain the TIA but they also found evidence of many other “abnormalities” apparently indicating “past events”. The specialist believes these previous strokes may have occurred without symptoms and could be a result of a patent foramen ovale (I understand this is kind of like a hole in the heart?) which to diagnose I will require a further test called an echocardiogram. Before leaving A&E I was prescribed a high dose of clopidogrel initially and then instructed to take 1 every day from now until forever, as well as aspirin for the first 3 weeks.
I’m now nearing the end of that 3 weeks since leaving hospital and finally beginning to take it all in and feel a bit better in myself. I have my echocardiogram appointment next week which I do hope explains if I have the heart issue or not, although I’m a little nervous if it doesn’t show anything I feel I may be left with more questions that answers… I’m troubled also by all those previous strokes they say have happened. I look back on stressful times in my life and I know I’ve had dizzy spells and numbness in my hand before. Now I’m kicking myself for not addressing it sooner and putting it down to stress. I’m also feeling very regretful about lifestyle choices I made in the past, drinking a lot as a student and putting a lot of pressure on myself at school, in university, at work. I suppose we can’t change the past so it’s not useful to dwell on it, but I need to teach myself not to keep going down that train of thought. Another thing I’m struggling with is memory… I have been having this for a wee while so maybe it’s not even TIA related, but basically I cannot remember certain events which have happened in my life (holidays, parties, meals out). My boyfriend must surely be getting sick of my new phrase - “I don’t remember that sorry”! Anyway Google photos has become my friend as I try to remind myself of all these things
Thanks for hearing my story. Actually, even if no-one reads this it’s quite cathartic to write it all down. I am finding it hard to tell people what’s happened, except for close family and work colleagues who are asking where I am. It’s kind of difficult to just message people randomly like “FYI I had a stroke”. So yeah, thanks in advance for the listening (virtually) ear!!