Two days before Christmas my dad had a stroke. Just that morning we were at my parents’ house making tamales for Christmas Eve. He came into the kitchen ate a breakfast taco with us and said he was going to spend few hours at the casino, but would be back soon. An hour after he left, I went home, as both the toddler and I were in need of a nap. Fifteen minutes into my nap my partner wakes me up in a panic and stated they are taking your dad to the hospital. He was at the casino and his leg went out, he couldn’t move his left side of the body, first words out of my mouth “he is having a stroke”.
When I was just 13 years old, my grandfather had a major stroke that left his left side of his body paralyzed. He also lost his speech. I knew the symptoms of a stroke well and I knew that if my dad survived this, he would most likely not be the same. I rushed to the hospital. I tried to stay calm. Of course, we beat the ambulance there. After what seemed like a lifetime, the guard at the hospital came and told us “your dad has arrived, they are running some test, but you’ll be able to see him in a few”.
Only two family members were allowed to visit. There were nine of us there. My sister and mom went back first. The doctor told them that a CT scan was completed and it showed a brain hemorrhage. They gave him medication to try to stop the bleeding and at that moment, all we could do was wait. I called a few of my coworkers who are nurses and asked to explain to me what would happen. I needed to know what to expect.
After about 30 minutes, it was my turn to see my dad. My dad has always been my rock, my hero. He has always been the strongest in the family. I walked in and saw him and I tried to be strong. When I saw his face, my thoughts automatically went to my grandfather. My dad could not move his left side of his body. I broke down. He told me it would be okay. He would be okay.
I was in the room when the Neurologist came in. He told us that my dad would spend a few days in the ICU and the CT scan would be repeated in the morning. He did a few assessments. Smile. Stick out your tongue. Can you move your hand? Can you move your arm? Wiggle your fingers. Can you move your leg? Can you wiggle your toes? My dad was able to stick his tongue out completely. He was able to move the knee just a bit. The Neurologist seemed pleased. I quickly questioned what the next steps were going to be. I asked if my dad would ever walk again. There was no definite answer. To be continued…..