Your Town, April 24, 2011
“Time fill message of the end of door and happy is a necessary birthing people for the predetermined yard,” my dad said softly and purposely, as he sat in his chair, looking me straight in the eye, as if he were telling me about his shopping adventure earlier that morning. He sat cross-legged and seemed tired, as he gently crumpled a tissue with his fingers.
Those weren’t his exact words, but regardless, he was conversing in full sentences, comprising nonsensical gibberish. At times, it sounded like “Star Trek” Klingon-speak, or as if he were reading sentences of a newspaper article, backwards.
Mom had called minutes earlier during the lunch hour, asking Allen and I to stop by the house on our way back to work, because there was something strange going on with Dad. With his Alzheimer’s, he often has spells, but this was different. We walked in the family room and he began speaking these rambling words when I asked him what was going on. I knew right away, it wasn’t one of those spells.
I had a strong feeling that Dad was having a stroke.
None of the usual stroke signs were present, such as a facial droop or paralysis, however, a quick call to his doctor confirmed our fears, and we were instructed to get him to the hospital, immediately.
When we arrived at the emergency room, he was whisked back to a room, dressed in a hospital gown and asked a battery of questions as he lay in the bed. The nurses had him perform various mobility tests, to assess the situation.
“What did you have for lunch?” the nurse asked him.
“Mulch,” he replied, “and tincture of something.”
A CT scan was given to determine if it was a hemorrhage or a clot. When the scan ruled out hemorrhage, an IV with the miracle “clot busting” drug was started and in time, the frightening symptom began to subside. His extended family gathered around his bed and breathed sighs of relief when he started conversing in real, complete sentences.
When the nurse asked him again what he had for lunch, he smiled and spoke in his usual, descriptive tone — “imitation lemonade (a powdered mix) and vegetable beef soup,” he said proudly.
Dad was back.
We learned later just how fortunate we were, getting him to the hospital when we did. There’s a three-hour window from the time the symptoms first start, to getting the CT scan and correct diagnosis (bleeding or clot) then getting the clot buster started. The nurse told us she started the drug, just as that three-hour window was closing. Rarely, she said, do they get the opportunity to administer the clot buster, because most patients don’t make it there in time.
I don’t know what the Easter Bunny put in your Easter basket today, but I hope it’s as good as what I got — more time to spend with my Dad.
Visit the National Stroke Association website at stroke.org to learn the warning signs.
Who knows, it may save a life.
I love you Dad.
Mesa State Geology Club students will discuss their research projects at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, during the joint meeting of the club and the Grand Junction Geological Society.
The meeting is in the Saccomanno Lecture Hall, Wubben Science Building on the Mesa State campus. Guests are welcome.
Call 242-9062 for information.
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8, and once again the Orchard Mesa Lions Club will have the grills sizzling bright and early with pancakes, during the Mother’s Day pancake breakfast fundraiser.
According to the club’s website, orchardmesalions.com, the breakfast has taken place every Mother’s Day since 1979.
The event starts at 7 a.m. and cost is $5 per person.
Visit the website or call 434-4282 for information on the breakfast and the club.
Plateau Valley Resource Center will present its third and final community workshop series “Setting the Table From Your Garden,” on May 7, in the clinic’s conference room, 58128 Colorado Highway 330, Suite A, in Collbran.
“Preserving the Bounty — Produce from Your Yard and Garden,” taught by Rhonda Follman from CSU Tri-River Extension, will be from 10 a.m. to noon, and will teach how to water-bathe and can foods (your own jar of fresh, homemade jelly).
Free pressure canner gauge checks are included in the $3 donation for the workshop.
Space is limited. To register, call 487-3322 or 487-3827.