Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dedicated to Virginia

My late mother in law loved roses. She would have loved this climbing rose from my garden.
I felt my mother in law's presence in my life these last couple of days.
Monday night my husband came in from outside and said that he felt funny and his head felt very strange. He seemed unable to focus on anything. I asked him to smile and raise his arms up and asked him if he had any pain anywhere. He didn't and for an hour I watched him and he just didn't seem to be feeling any different. I put in him the car and drove him to the ER.
It was during the drive there that I could feel his mother's presence in the car. He reached over and patted my arm and told me not to rush, everything was just fine. That's exactly how and what my mother in law would have said to me. It sounded more like her than my husband.
At the ER I had my first clue that something serious was happening. The admissions clerk started to ask John questions and he couldn't answer them. I apparently had a deer in the headlight expression when I realized that he didn't have any answers and John glanced at me and then told the clerk he couldn't answer anything more because it was upsetting his wife.
I was more shocked. His memory seemed to be gone. What had happened? Was it a little stroke?
We were in the ER for four and half hours. They did a brain scan, ran a full blood test panel and the wonderful ER nurse and myself answered John's questions over and over and over. The same questions, in a loop over and over and over. He was relaxed but desperate to get information and retain it.
The short term memory was gone. COMPLETELY GONE.
Every once in a while John would bring up an old joke or ask a medical question. His long term memory was fine but he was unable to lay down any new short term memory and he couldn't remember anything from that day. Babette, the ER nurse and I would take turns answering his questions, listening to the same responses from him and reacting as if it was all new to us to.
An IV was put into his arm, sticky pieces of cardboard were stuck to his body for the testing and he was hooked up to a heart monitor.
He would turn his face to me and look at me and say, "This must be so hard on you, you must be so scared." In the midst of his own problems this wonderful man was worried about me. I told him that I was fine now that he was in good hands. The doctors and nurses of Meriter's ER are wonderful.
Of course, he looked at me every 5 seconds and said the same thing to me.
And, every five seconds I repeated back to him the same thing.
After about three hours his blood pressure was starting to rise. While waiting for a room, in the hospital, the staff left us alone. I watched the numbers on the monitor start to rise and took his hand and told him to breathe deeply, close his eyes and I would do some Reiki on him.
For 45 minutes I did.
After that he added a new comment into his question loop, "Have I had a sedative? I should feel anxious, I don't feel anxious, have I had a sedative, not that I want one because I don't feel anxious."
He spend the day in the hospital having tests done. His short term memory slowly came back bit by bit. He was told that it was Transient Global Amnesia. Something that the doctors said was common although I have never heard of it and neither has anybody that I've talked to.
He seems fine today, tired and so am I.
It was a scare that I hope we never have to experience again.
There doesn't seem to be a medical reason for it.
As we sat outside this morning holding hands we knew that it was just a reminder for us that life is so precious.


  1. Oh Bea, I'm so glad your husband came out of it. I've never heard of that Transient...either. You know your mother in law was with you all the way through and she's probably there with you now to ease any fears. Get rest and good thinking on getting your hubby to the ER.

  2. was your husband on a statin medicine for cholesterol issues?
    If so, I commend you to read "Lipitor, thief of memory by Dr. Duane Graveline. I know, I am a 2nd episode of TGA.

  3. Thanks Linda. Both of us seem to be tired I think it's from the stress.
    Gary, John wasn't taking anything and I as far as I know from his tests last year he doesn't have a cholesterol problem. But, that's really interesting about Lipitor and thank you for posting that book by Dr. Graveline. I have a number of friends that might be or have folks on Lipitor. They will be very interested. :)Bea

  4. Hi Bea,
    What a dreadful experience. I can't believe what both of you went through. I've never heard of it before, but will have to look it up. Did he have an MRI? I'm asking only because I've heard so many scary stories these days. I hope he at least seeks out a second opinion from a neurologist.

    And no blow to the head? How scary.

    Re: Gary's comments on statins - very interesting to me in particular because I sold a statin when I was a drug rep. It wasn't Lipitor. One thing I do know about Lipitor is quite technical but I'll share nevertheless. It is metabolized differently than other statins - Cytochrome P450 system - not the major pathway (3A4) but a minor one that still makes it possible for side effects from interactions with other meds and some foods. There is so much to learn in this area. There is a school of thought that believes that the statins were a perfect example of a drug industry lead market expansion (conspiracy theorists abound !) Perhaps that's what the book he mentioned addresses. - We all know that proper exercise and diet are the best way to lower LDL and raise HDL - but sadly NA's don't like lifestyle modifications.

    I hope this episode is over for your husband. take good care.

  5. The Neal Family in MN is kindly requesting more pictures of pretty birds (Hayden's words)? We are staying at the Kish Hotel up here, and their backyard has little to offer in the bird catagory, as a nest of hawks are nearby, and seem to drive all the birds away. Here is our request list:

    1. Baltimore Oriole (male or female)
    2. Hummingbird, preferably while eating?
    3. Cardinal
    4. Bluebird (male please)
    5. BlueJay

    By the way, I remember Grandma used to send James and I out with a can of gasoline to pick bugs off of her roses? Some kind of beatle would live in the petals, and damage the rose somehow. We would pick the beetle off, drop it in the gasoline jar.

  6. LOL Tell Miss Hayden that she can spend time outside, hiding and WAITING to get a picture of a bird. They aren't that easy. I tried to take some from inside the house, they weren't very good.
    Grandma had gorgeous roses but those beetles just killed them off.
    You guys probably thought it was really cool to drop them in the jar. lol :)MA

  7. Oh Bea, you poor thing, what a dreadful scare. I have never heard of TGA either, now I have learnt a bit more. I am so glad John has recovered. It must have been so frightening.