Thursday, August 12, 2010

This has been a test. Had this been an actual emergency, I would have been freaking out.

I am a *bit of a hypochondriac. When I first started working for the MS Society, I was sure I had MS. When that passed, I was sure JM had MS. I no longer think either. I'm not allowed to go on Web MD unless it is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, I end up with a disease rap sheet sheet as long as Mel Gibson's voice mail rantings.

However, of all the possible diseases or health problems out there, one of my top fears is stroke. I'm terrified of the idea of losing the ability to communicate while still having my mental faculties. (Anyone see that show where the woman has a stroke, can't talk, and they are about to take her off life support because they think she's brain-dead? Freaked me out.) So now, anytime I have an acute pain in my head, I fear stroke. Unless I'm drinking a Slurpee, I figure stroke is the only possible explanation for a brain freeze. Time is critical in the treatment of stoke, so I quiz JM on the signs so he will be ready should it happen. Let's all review together the signs of a stroke shall we?
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one of both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
If you aren't sure if they are exhibiting these symptoms, you can try one, or both of these tests.
  1. Ask them to smile at you. If only one side of their mouth turns upward, it could be a stroke.
  2. Ask them to close their eyes and hold both arms straight in front of them. If one arm drifts down or to the side, it could be a stroke.
It you or someone around you (like me) is exhibiting these symptoms, you should call 911 immediately. Make sure you know the time they first started; again, timing is critical for effective treatment.

This PSA has been brought to you by my own neuroses.

*JM would argue that "bit" is the understatement of the century.


Kristina P. said...

Great. Now I'm sure I'm having a stroke.

Meredith & Company said...

Don't worry. If JM isn't around, you can come over and I will test your stroke symptoms for you. Now I am prepared!

Mary said...

losing my physical functions is also a HUGE fear of mine. I told hubby that under NO circumstances is he EVER to put me on tube feedings/trach as a life long therapy!

UK Yankee said...

I do the same thing - every migraine is the first sign of an operable brain tumor. Glad to know you've schooled JM in all emergencies!

Kris said...

A cancer center is the perfect place for a hypochondriach to work. I know this from personal experience.