Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Back to Amy


I guess I should finish up the story about Amy. I left off after she had been admitted to the hospital. For me this is part of my therapy. It has been a rough couple of months. I must say Amy is doing well, but I definitely had moments that I thought we were going to loose her. Most of it is a blur when I think back on it, so that is partially why I am wanting to record it.

Okay so she was admitted to the hospital and stayed there from Thursday until she was released on Tuesday. She vaguely remembers her hospital stay and the weeks after. She said it is like being really drunk and not remembering, but when someone mentions what you did, it starts to comeback to you. So I am hoping by documenting those weeks in her life it will help her remember. If you were to meet her on the street, you'd never know what she went through.

When she was first admitted, we still hadn't been told by the doctors it was a stroke. I wish I could say we had the best medical care for her, but we didn't. At this point I am just glad she had medical attention at all. It took a couple of days before the neurologist told us that it was a stroke and not a brain tumor. He didn't realize we were in the dark and hadn't been told by the admitting doctor what was going on. We learned after Amy was out of the hospital that the admitting doctor was in practice with the doctor from the ER, who diagnosed Amy with a standard migraine. I do believe if she had insurance from the get go, the doctor would have worked her up and found she already had a stroke. Instead she was sent home after blood work only and had a second stroke. The second stroke was the one that did the most damage.

It was very odd to watch my sister go through all this. We are very close and I probably know her better than anyone else. Her strokes were in the front right lobe and has a big impact on personality. Amy has always been a vivacious person, very lively and active. It was a very hard ordeal to go through. Each person is affected differently by stroke. It depends on what type of stoke, where in the brain it happens and how much damage is actually done. So during the time I was watching her heal, I had no idea if these were permanent changes. I would say she is probably about 95% back to herself. It was almost like watching a computer get rebooted after the power goes out. It needs to do a system check before it reboots to see if any files have been corrupted. (See I told you, I learn things from Alex by osmosis. I don't know if what I wrote is technically correct, but just the fact that I would go to a computer analogy shows he has been brainwashing me!) At first it was like her personality was completely stripped away. She wouldn't make eye contact when she talked to you and she was very monotone when she spoke. She made Ben Stein sound like the most animated person. (Bueller, Bueller) Then when you weren't talking to her, she would stare at you. It was an unblinking stare that would make you uncomfortable and self-conscience. She slowly came back to being her old self. She has had some changes though. It is hard for her to multi-task and she doesn't have the energy or focus that she used to. But she has made a remarkable recovery in a very short time. In just 3 months, she has gone from being paralyzed on her left side to walking, talking, driving, you name it.

It took a couple of weeks to get all the blood tests back that they ran in the hospital. We found out she has Factor V Leiden. It is somewhat common in Caucasians, about 5% of people have it. It's most dangerous when you don't know you have it. Once you know, you can take care of yourself better. I am very proud to say that she has quit smoking. Hold on that needs more highlighting:

Amy and Paul have quit smoking! Is has now been 3 months!
I am so proud of you!

These past couple of months have been so tough on the whole family. She had to quit cleaning houses because she could just physically not do it anymore. So that has been hard, but it has been more than that. I have been so angry at her and I couldn't figure out why. I was so angry I was avoiding her, then I would feel guilty because I was abandoning her in her time of need. If ever there was a time she needed me it was now. But I just couldn't figure out why I was so mad.

Once I started working through my issues with this blog, it came to me. Our little family here is not that big. We have my Stepdad Paul, Amy and her daughter Olivia, Me, Alex and our children, and my cousin Kris. That's it. We are all very close, maybe even too close sometimes where we get on each others nerves, but either way we are close. Amy and I also have different fathers, her father passed away when she was just a teenager. She doesn't know his side of the family at all. As for my father, he passed away a year ago May. He wasn't much of a father to me, more of a source of pain. Paul has been there for us since before I started school. He is really the only father I've known and I am immensely proud of him. But I digress. I now realize I've been angry at her for almost dying. How dare she? Who does she think she is trying to die on me! Girl, if you go and die, I'll kill ya!

And like Forrest Gump said, "That's all I'm going to say about that!"

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