What the heck happened?
I was going about my normal morning. Looking at the weather forecast and loading stuff in my truck for my days planned activities and then I wake up in a hospital bed 5 days later. I barely remember day 5 and on day 6 my wife starts to help me put the pieces together.
My wife Gina asked me what I was doing in the bathroom where she found me. I said I do not know. She asked, “Did you hit your head?” Again I said, “I do not know”. I simply had no recognition of even going into the bathroom let alone that anything was wrong. Last I remember was getting ready to start my normal day.
As I began to become more aware of my situation I realized I had a drain in my head just above my left eye and it was hooked to a machine with a bag full of fluid. This was draining my brain of fluid that my body could not absorb normally. I also had a blood pressure cuff on my left arm, a catheter, an oxygen sensor on my ring finger and an IV in my arm. Flat on my back I could not move without several machines beeping and warning my nursing staff.
My wife Gina had dropped off the kids at school, she had about 25 minutes spare before she had to be at her first appointment. She decided to stop back at the house on her way past. She came into the house and found me on the floor in the bathroom between the toilet and the bathtub. I was unconscious. She tried to wake me and get me to go to the living room. I refused. I just wanted to lay there. Concerned my wife called my mother (Connie). My parents live only a couple miles down the street from us. When my mother arrived they managed to get me off the floor and out into the living room. At this time they both agreed I needed to go to the hospital as soon as possible. They managed to get me into my parent’s car and off to the hospital we went. Once at the hospital I was quickly diagnosed and loaded onto a helicopter and transported to the Brain ward of Orlando Health hospital in Orlando.
I remember NONE OF THIS.
I was taken off the helicopter and admitted to the Neuro ICU where I was placed in a medically induced coma and they drilled a hole in my scull and inserted a drain tube for the fluid. It was determined that I had suffered a Hemorrhagic Stroke. A breathing tube was inserted and a feeding tube down my nose. Apparently I pulled that out and they had to re-insert it and put mittens on my hands so I could not remove it again.
DAY 2- DAY 5 Several Visitors. No memory of anything.
Day 6 My wife and I began to put together what had happened. I spent the next two weeks slowly healing. I was well medicated and slowly began to take walks down the hall. (Assisted by a walker and TWO physical therapists at first). I eventually went to a cane and one therapist and then no cane and back to a physical therapist on each side and then no cane.
As I write this story, it has been 6 weeks to the day since my stroke. Physically I seem to have no impairments. I try to go out and walk as much as I can tolerate each day. The headaches are becoming less frequent and less intense. I am still on a boatload of medications and have horrible dizziness. Getting up out of bed causes a head spinning event that nearly makes me fall out of bed. Turning my head quickly or standing up from a seated position also gives me a good head spin. I have been told from the neurosurgeon these are all normal issues after a stroke like I had.
My last CT scan of my brain shows a healthy brain. At least that what the doctor’s office said. So it is just a matter of time for me to heal. They said try not to get frustrated since it can take months (and sometimes years) to fully heal.
I told my wife I feel like Rick Grimes on the Walking Dead. I wake up in the hospital and the world is suffering a pandemic! So don’t come around the Thompson Compound acting like a zombie, I may start shooting!
All Joking aside. I must be one of the luckiest men on the planet. Had my wife not stopped back that morning and found me I could have suffered a much worse fate. I am lucky that my wife and mother got me medical attention immediately. I am also extremely lucky that I did not suffer other physical detriments as well.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us in so many ways. From cards to emails to Facebook and even financially the outpouring of kindness is humbling. Thank you is simply not enough.
Please be safe. Right now it is super important the EACH of us take precautions to be safe and protect ALL OF US.
Jeff A Thompson