How My Husband's Wallenberg Syndrome Stroke Stopped My World
I have not posted here in nearly two months. It is not because I've lost interest in talking to the world. It is because, on March 19, my own world stopped spinning. On March 16, my husband had prostate surgery. All went well. But three days later, following increasing bouts of nausea, migraines, and constant dizziness, he had a stroke. A rare stroke I had never heard of: Wallenberg Syndrome Stroke, caused by a blocked artery to the brain. It is a sobering experience to stand over the person you love at three in the morning while ER monitors beep, hospital coats swish past, and the suffering continues. Time loses all significance. Explanations about what may be happening come quickly, then are changed. Suspension of reality sets in. Denial. I suppose that is what shock is. There are tests. And more tests. A transport to a different hospital. A staggering litany of complex medical facts to digest and feed to concerned family and friends. Legalities to attend to. And waiting. Days of waiting. Wondering, if the newest batch of pain meds will cut my husband's crushing migraine. Allow him to eat without vomiting.  Open his eyes. It was two weeks before the darkened cave of my husband's hospital room saw light. Before he was able to sit up and eat a real meal without fear of nausea. Before we could have a conversation. Before his pain receded to a four out of ten. Before I saw him take his first shakey steps down the hospital corridor. Before we tried to make sense of what had happened to him. What we almost lost. Driving home from the hospital -- more than an hour from home -- I was hit with numbing fatigue. Once home, the tears came. The fear of living without the love of my life.  But it did not last long. What I know about me and my husband is that we are willing to accept the limitations life might place upon us. But we won't do it without a fight. For the last two weeks, my husband did just that: he fought. Did more than his share of rehab exercises. The nurses and doctors on the rehab floor of the hospital called him their "rockstar lab rat." They'd never seen someone come back so well after Wallenberg Syndrome and be able to verbalize what the symptoms were leading up to the stroke. The day before Easter, my husband came home. He has lost none of his cognitive skills. He still beats me at Scrabble. His humor and wit are intact. Today, he walked to work. As we drove up the street to our house on his first day home, my husband looked out the window and said the world looked new again. Everything. Brand new. Colors were more vivid. The light clearer. I know what he means...