So My Day Started Out Pretty Well....
I got up, fed the dog, gave my wife Hilde her morning meds and put her back to bed, went out to a doctor's appointment, picked up a few items at the grocery, dropped off a prescription, got back home, moved a load of wash into the dryer and started another, went into the bedroom...
...and that's when I called the ambulance.
It's... stressful... to find the spouse who'd been fine three hours before gasping for breath, arms and legs jerking spasmodically, unable to respond to you or to speak at all, possibly not even recognize you, covered with sweat and running a burning fever.
The good news is that by the time I got home from the hospital tonight, close to twelve hours after the ambulance took her there, Hilde had made an almost complete recovery. She was focused and coherent again, with no problems speaking or verbalizing. She was even able to speak to our son Chris on the phone and ask what he wanted for his birthday dinner tomorrow. (Though she'll likely still be in the hospital then, either getting tests or waiting for the results of them.)
She remembers going back to sleep before I left for my doctor's appointment, but the next time she was aware of her surroundings was in the early afternoon, when I was giving the ER doctor some further information at her bedside. She drifted in and out for several more hours, but then became more and more awake and aware. By the time a neurologist came in to look at her, she was able to give normal responses to his questions.
We're still not certain what exactly happened. Stroke was the immediate concern, which is why she was taken to the closest hospital with a stroke unit, rather than to Mayo Hospital, which is about ten miles further away, but which she prefers to go to when possible. (Her primary care doctor is with Mayo.)
But the jerking arms and legs seemed more like some kind of seizure. And the high fever and sweats seemed like an infection. (Which it turned out she had, and received several units of IV antibiotics for, but the ER doctor said the bacterial count didn't seem high enough to account for everything happening with her.)
So she's in the hospital tonight, with an MRI and EKG due tomorrow, to try and figure out what was happening, and if there's any sign of permanent damage.
But, oh, man, trying not to panic once I found her in crisis was a struggle. We've been through a number of medical crisis' over the years, but every other time -- even if she was in agonizing pain -- she could still communicate something of what was happening to her to me and/or the medics. This was the first time where it was completely up to me.
And beyond the obvious fear that she might have been dying, there was that other fear, possibly even worse: That she might not come back to a state of awareness; that her body and brain might remain "alive", but that Hilde, the person, the mind inside that brain, might never come back.
We seem to have dodged a very large bullet today.
(It's after midnight here. I'm going to take some anti-anxiety meds of my own and go to bed.)