At approximately 4 am the morning of April 4, 2017 Lindsey’s artery on the right side of her neck tore. This type of tear is called a Vertebral Artery Dissection. She had no idea this had taken place. Then at 7:30 am as she was showering and preparing for work, she experienced an Ischemic stroke. The left side of her face felt like it had soap in it or a burning sensation and the right side of the rest of her body was unable to move.
Her beloved dog Mona is the one who knew something was wrong and was able to alert Lindsey’s mom. They weren’t sure what was going on. She had been seen at the walk-in clinic for the neck pain the previous week so they took her there first. As soon as she arrived it was obvious she was experiencing stroke symptoms. She was unable to put words together and her right arm and leg just weren’t cooperating with the rest of her body. An ambulance was called and she was hurried over to the hospital.
A port was placed in her arm and she went straight into the first of 7 tests for the day, a regular Head CT and another with contrast. Throughout the day she also had a Neck CTA, a video feed consult with a neurologist in Portland, OR, a Neck MRA, a Head MRA and a Brain MRI. They admitted Lindsey to the hospital overnight and monitored her vitals about every 20 minutes for the first few hours as her blood pressure was still really high. She was in a lot of pain the following day but really just wanted to be home. She was released from the hospital the next afternoon.
Ever since she’s been home, Mona has been her guardian, she helps Lindsey get ready in the morning, she takes naps with her, tons of kisses and also stays just a half step behind her as she walks down the hallway with her cane to make sure Lindsey is okay. She was originally prescribed a walker, but the physical therapist decided a cane would work better for her.
Lindsey had her first physical therapy session this week and it went really well. She describes her experience as this: “My left leg is basically teaching my right leg how to operate again which is a weird feeling but cool to watch it start to pick up on things. My right arm seems like it is back to where it was before this happened, but my hand is still coming around. They gave me some exercises to do at PT to help my motor control get back up to speed so I’m hoping that it starts to come back, I can still write fairly well but have a hard time picking things up. They have me scheduled for PT 2-3 times a week for the next 8 weeks and I have my first speech therapy appointment tomorrow, it has also come back fairly well but gets a little delayed or slurred if I’m tired or not having a great day. I have a hard time making decisions so I’m hoping we will be able to work on that, I can answer yes or no but if you ask me if I want Item A or Item B, my brain seems to not be able to process the options and I can’t choose one or the other. “
Along with all of this, Lindsey is unable to drive which is very frustrating for her. She is also working to get her Masters Degree with the University of Montana. Her goal of graduating in May of next year is most likely no longer realistic but considering the severity of the stroke, she is very lucky to be with us.
With the love of her dogs Mona and Meiko, her parents, family, friends and co-workers all cheering her on, there is great hope for a full recovery.
While Lindsey does have medical insurance, the out-of-pocket expenses will be significant as she rehabilitates to get back the full use of her speech, hand and leg.