Stroke… and Counting Our Blessings

My grandmother–my only living grandparent–had a stroke on Saturday.

She was extremely lucky, and she is extremely resilient.

Lucky, because it happened in broad daylight, while she was in a public place (grocery shopping, to be exact) with my mom.  Someone called 911 for them, and she was taken to Sunnybrook Hospital immediately.

Lucky, because when it happened, there was one person standing next to her.  She fell onto the person on her left instead of hitting the ground or the shelves.

Lucky, because her stroke affected her left side of the body, from arm and down.  She never lost consciousness or speech.

Lucky, because even though she was having a bad case of flu since last week and was on Tamaflu, she was tested negative for H5N1.

Lucky, because all her living children have moved to Toronto–and none of them nor their spouses have full-time, regular 9-5 jobs.  All but two of her grandchildren are also in Toronto.  My brother in Seattle arrived on Sunday evening; my cousin in San Francisco is coming on Wednesday afternoon.  Everyone is collaborating and coordinating the effort to provide the best support to her hospital stay and recovery.  We’re talking about 4 hour shifts here.

Lucky, because despite the relatively big size of the blood clot (2-3″), she was put on tPA treatment, and her body responded to it positively.  By Sunday, she has already regained some motion on her hand, and limited gross motor skill on her left leg.

Resilient, because she insisted she didn’t have a stroke, and fully believe she was hospitalized only for the flu.

Resilient, because when she was told they would take away her NG tube if she proved she could eat a jello, she chowed it down in seconds.

Resilient, because when she was asked to walk (with the aid of a walker), she was told to slow down–she thought they’d discharge her earlier if she proved she could walk.

We don’t know what will happen next.  We’re fighting against having her stay at a rehab hospital: she has shown minimal loss of ability; she doesn’t speak English; rehab will be farther away from everyone’s home than her home; it will be less flexible.

Grandma, I know you won’t read this, but I still have to say,

We all love you.

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