We got lucky!!! Update on Mom’s condition after the stroke

First off thank you to everyone who expressed their love and kept my Mom in their prayers, in person, on the phone or online (on Facebook, through Email or on this blog) during this challenging time.

A week ago, my Mom suffered a stroke. (To read more about it check out my previous post titled: The High Cost of Waiting https://relmes.wordpress.com/2008/09/24/the-high-cost-of-waiting/

But we got lucky!!!

The reason I say “we” is because instead of wondering what might have been, we are wondering what is next, and instead of thinking what we could have done in the past to help her, we are thinking of how we can help her in the future and instead of planning a funeral, we are planning her rehabilitation.

As I mentioned in the last post, when the stroke hit, she recognized she was in trouble and she called for help and getting there saved her life.

But as she realizes now, her life in the future will be different.

She is lucky that the damage of the stroke appears to have effected her vision and her memory.

At this time she has lost her right side vision from one o’clock(if you think of looking straight being twelve o’clock) to the right everywhere except on the bottom. This may or may not improve over time.

Her memory has also been effected.

I describe it this way: If all of her memories were on sheets of paper, all categorized and files for easy and quick retreaval, the stroke messed up that filing system and scattered all of the sheets on the floor.

In the first days following the stroke, she had trouble recalling her last name, her telephone number and even the names of her family members. However, she has improved this by studying her “cheat sheets” in order to re-learn these important facts.

Her short term memory has also been effected, because I can have a conversation with her and a few minutes we can be talking about the same things.

A few of things that I have taken away from this learning process;

If you want to learn and anything is possible. Mom has told me many days she will find herself waking up at night and she will invest the time in studying. She view this as a challenge and I am confident that it will pay off. (I have witnessed her improving every day)

Forced learning doesn’t stick. Mom said that when she is trying really hard to remember something it doesn’t come to her, but when she is relaxed things come much easier. Although I give her credit that her frustration level has been incredibly low. I know if I were in her situation I would be incredibly frustrated.  Just think of how much you retained after cramming for exams in school.

Progress happens when it is enjoyable. Although it has been a tramatic experience for our whole family, I for one have thoroughly enjoyed the time that I have spent with Mom this week. We have laughed (Thank heavens she still has her sense of humour), and we have hugged (she instituted a new family rule that we have to hug each other everytime we see each other) and we have just appreciated the time together.

I know that in my training or coaching sessions I often use laughter as a way to open up the doors of learning, in order to help make the message stick.

As of the time of this post, my Mom is still in the Stroke wing at Grand River Hospital http://www.grandriverhospital.on.ca/ and will probably be there until at least Friday. Then hopefully she will be able to go home, where she will face a whole new set of challenges.

But if I know my Mom, she will continue to face those challenges with the same sense of adventure and humility that she has demonstrated to me this week.

I will keep you posted on her progress. But in the meantime, keep those prayers coming, because I am convinced they are the reason we are all lucky.

The High Cost of Waiting

I just sat there stunned. The phone call had ended a minute ago, but I was still holding the phone.

I was stunned, because my brother-in-law just told me that my Mom was being rushed to the hospital and they believe she may be having a stroke. http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/c.ikIQLcMWJtE/b.2796497/k.F922/Heart_Disease_Stroke_and_Healthy_Living.htm

Apparently, she was watching TV last night and she suddenly felt pain in the right side of her head and she couldn’t see anything on the right side of her head. Also, the right side of her arms and legs felt tingly and started to go numb.  http://www.flash-med.com/Stroke_Symptoms.asp

She called up to my sister-in-law, who lives with her and my sister-in-law (who doesn’t drive) stayed with her and quickly called my Sister (who lives 4 blocks away and who drives).

My sister arrived quickly, but it took the two of them almost 30 minutes to convince my Mom to go to the hospital. (She was also disoriented and very scared) I live 30 minutes away and I almost arrived there before them.

They arrived at the Emergency Room at the St. Mary’s General Hospital http://www.smgh.ca/ where they were quickly ushered in and looked at right away.

The doctors and nurse quickly went to work diagnosing her situation and one of the key questions that they needed to find out was what time this occured. Aparently, the treatment is different, depending on how long it has been since the stroke began. They have a small window of opportunity to administer a certain drug, so receiving this information was critical.

It turns out that that treatment was not available, not because of the time window, but because of another complication that we originally forgot to tell the doctors about. And if that information was not provided, the complications from the treatment could have made the situation worse. Much worse.

The doctors and nurses provided another treatment and the symptoms started to subside. Her headache was gone, the right side of her body was going back to normal and she started to regain some of her right side vision.

As the situation was stablizing, she was even able to get some rest.

At the time of writing this she has improved even more and has been transferred to Grand River Hospital http://www.grandriverhospital.on.ca/, which apparently has a specialized Stroke Team that will assess her and take over her care.

From this experience, I take away several different life and business lessons.

  1. When there is trouble, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes we need to seek out professional help and advice. If we have a business challenge and we don’t seek answers outside of ourself, we can end up doing more damage.
  2. When assessing needs, full disclosure can be critical, because it may alter the decision that is made. Although you may risk losing that sale, your customer will appreciate your candor and you will greatly increase your odds of gaining a customer for life.
  3. Timing can be critical. If you find out that you can’t deliver on what you have promised and don’t tell your customer right away, you risk losing the sales (and your reputation). However, if you let them know right away, they may still be able to make alternate plans and still get their needs met. They still will not be happy that you couldn’t deliver this time, but they will know that you are working in their best interest and they may give you a second chance in the future.

Because the high cost of waiting can cost you a sale, just like the high cost of waiting could have cost my Mom her life.

But thankfully, it didn’t. Now she is not out of the woods yet, but she is doing much better than she was 12 short hours ago.

One other thing… the reason that I dropped everything and rushed to the hospital was to:

Support her at her time of need, make sure she was O.K. and to tell her that I love her. The last one was critical, because I needed her to know that in case this situation turned fatal.

Why did I tell you this?

I told you this because I have a 2 favours to ask.

  1. Please include my Mom in your prayers today.
  2. Take the opportunity to tell the people in your life that are important to you that you love them. Pick up the phone, write them a note, or whatever, but do it today. Don’t wait, because if you don’t, you may find that the cost of waiting is just too high.