Early warning signs of a stroke

HOLY SHIT, did we have a close call last night.  I will cut to the middle of this story, which is the scariest part.  My husband and I genuinely thought my mother might have had a minor stroke around 7 o’clock.  After a small argument with my mom earlier in the day, the thought of my mom having a serious condition, and potential lifelong complications, was frightening, sad and incredibly scary.

Now, let’s cut to the beginning of this short story.  After a delightful dinner of stuffed clams and some sides, Hugo started to clean up the dishes as my mom and I meandered around the patio area, sitting in the hammock and enjoying the cool evening air with the company of the two dogs.  We casually chatted as I watered some potted flowers that are scattered around the patio;  she swayed back and forth in the hammock, with her glasses strung around her neck as she gazed on and off at her cell phone.  We retreated inside again so I could ice my knee for the 40th time today, rejoining Hugo in the kitchen.  My mom sat down on the long wooden bench that runs along the backside of our kitchen table.  This is the usual, private spot she posts up in our kitchen when she visits – this is because she is capable of setting up a makeshift office there, complete with her laptop and her traveling wicker basket that’s full of her weekly pills, a “seen better days” Yeti cup, and various other odds and ends that descend the stairs with her every morning.

As I sat on the couch with my knee iced and elevated, I began contemplating my new blog post topic.  I looked over at my mother and noticed she was straddling the kitchen table bench and was hunched over at the waist.  I asked my mom if she was ok as Hugo craned his neck around to look; she replied, “I can’t see.”  “You can’t see??!?”, I retorted, in shock at her statement.  Blinking her eyes as she removed her glasses, and with mild panic in her voice, my mom returned with, “I can’t see out of my right eye.”

I’m sorry…come again?  You can’t SEE out of your right EYE?!!!?!?!!  I immediately thought that she was having, or just had, a mild stroke.  To Google I went.  My dear friend Google confirmed that sudden blurry vision or loss of vision out of one or both eyes is a symptom of a stroke.  Cue the HOLY SHIT moment.

Hugo, my mom and I went back and forth for the next ten minutes discussing her sole symptom and the lack of additional symptoms.  I put my sandals on anticipating a trip to our local hospital because I was genuinely scared that she had in fact experienced a mild stroke.  We continued diagnosing her online and therefore continued frightening the three of us with the fact that an un-diagnosed stroke could lead to serious long-term complications.  My mom said that her vision was coming and going in the symptomatic eye but she didn’t want to go to the hospital just yet.  I understood her desire to wait because she didn’t want to be hasty but the loss of vision in one eye genuinely scared me.  The clock ticked by and we watched 60 Minutes, all of us nervous that we were not properly handling this potentially dangerous medical situation.

A few short minutes later, my mom got up from the couch to retrieve her glasses from the kitchen table.  She picked up the glasses and turned to face us on the couch as she gasped and laughed at the same time.  “What?”, I asked.  She held up the glasses and said, “You will not believe this.”  She moved closer to Hugo and I on the couch as she laughed again.  She showed us the glasses as she explained how the right lens was missing!  She wasn’t experiencing a stroke, her vision was blurry because her glasses weren’t intact!!

Now, you as the reader may be thinking how could this happen?  Well, you aren’t alone in this thought because Hugo and I were thinking the same thing.  My mom clarified that she had been using the glasses, minus the right eye lens, and that is when she initially began experiencing the blurry vision, or so we thought.  She took the glasses off, still felt like her eyes were off, and that’s where the story picks up.  Needless to say, the story ends with twenty minutes of deep, guttural laughter and disbelief that this actually happened.  I mean, we almost called 911 because my mom was having a stroke when in fact she had lost her glasses lens! It is so ridiculous and so great, all at the same time.

The learning lesson in all of this is to know the early warning signs of a stroke.  I like this website – the take-away is the acronym BE FAST.  Balance, Eyes, Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911!  Click the link and be sure you are familiar with the symptoms.  I remembered learning about the loss of vision (our particular symptom in this scenario) a long time ago so that’s where the whole conversation started with us last night.

Finally (because I know the cliffhanger is killing you), Hugo did in fact find the missing lens.  It was hidden in the hammock from earlier that night and has since been successfully been reunited with its rightful glasses frame.  And I am happy to report that my mom is healthy and symptom free this morning ♥

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