Lidia - Day 1 - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - Thanksgiving Day
A Whirlwind of Events
Lidia expereanced dizziness and loss of motor function around 3:34 pm on November 28 (Thanksgiving Day). We recognized the symptoms as a stroke and took her to Jordan Valley Hospital right off of Bangerter and 90th South in West Jordan. They admitted her to the ER and gave her a CT scan. This is where we found out that there were two types of stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke and a ischemic stroke. Lidia suffered from a hemorrhagic stroke.
Transported to University of Utah Hospital
Because it was a holiday it was our unfortunate luck that there was no neural surgon on staff at Jordan Valley Hospital. Life Flight was requested to take Lidia to the University of Utah Hospital, but because of the snow storm we were having, she was transported by ambulance. I followed in my own vehicle. She was already in the system when I arrived and was directed to the Neurological Intesive Care Unit on the 3rd floor, room 3309.
The Waiting Game
When I arrived on the 3rd floor, I requested access to the ICU. If you could image two doors, large enough for a bed and doctors and nurses to go through with plenty of room to spare and a doorbell/intercom mechanism. That's where I was. I pressed the button and waited. I got a response, 'Can I help you?'. Flustered, I responded, 'Um, yeah, I'm here to visit with my wife Lidia Barrus. She was just recently brought in.' Pause...and then through the intercom, 'The doctors are still assessing Lidia, could you please wait there. We will come and get your when she is ready'
So, I waited. I don't know how long I was there. Pacing back and forth. Thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Not know what is going on. It was an excruciating experience. MY WIFE SUFFERED FROM A STROKE!! I NEED TO SEE HER!!
Finally, they brought me and Katherine in. Doctors and nurses were still buzzing around the room. Talking to each other while I was pulled aside. We were told that they took Lidia for another CT scan and compared the new scan with the one taken at Jordan Valley Hospital. The hemorrhage had increased. The brain had moved and is under pressure. As this was explained to us, things were kicking in. I pulled Katherine near so that she could hear what was being explained to me. This is where we were told that Lidia's life was in extreme danger and that they recommended that we operate.
The Lesser of Two Risks
This is where it gets really fuzzy for me. This is where it was sinking in that Lidia may not make it. This is where a lump formed in my throat and tears in my eyes and I looked Katherine in the eyes telling her that this is serious. Life or death. I don't know if she fully grasped what I was saying at the time. There was a high risk of loss of life if we left Lidia to heal on her own. There was less risk of loss of life if she had surgery, but the risk still existed. However, we also had a greater chance of recovery. I turned to Katherine. I couldn't make this decision on my own. I remember her saying, 'Do what you need to do to make her batter. I just want my mom back.' That was it for me. Papers were signed and they started prepping her for the operating room.
We were escorted back outside of the ICU as we watched them take Lidia to the OR. Katherine, Zach and the kids had to go home. So, I stayed. The halls were empty. I waited. I was so tired. One of the surgeons saw me waiting and asked if I new where the waiting room was for family members waiting for patients in the OR. I shook my head. He offered to show me where it was and told me that this is where they would look for me with any updates.
When they were explaining the operation, they said that there were two stages.
The first stage was the main stage where they would cut out a piece of Lidia's skull and store that piece in a freezer. With her skull open, they would remove the blood that is floating around on the outside of her brain. They would examine as much as they could to see if they could tell if the hemorrhage was still there. Then they would place three drainage tubes in, one where the hemorrhage was. I can't remember where the other two were placed exactly. I just remember asking about the long (where the hemorrhage was) medium and short (next to the skull). These tubes were placed for drainage purposes while the healing process took place.
The second stage of the operation would happen in a couple of weeks when they replace the piece of her skull that was taken out and placed in the freezer.
I was in the waiting room when one of the surgeons came out and spoke to me. He said that the operation was a success. It turns out the the surgeons were so confident that they replaced the skull and stapled her up. Finishing the operation, took another hour before Lidia was wheeled back to ICU. I communicated through text to Kathering stating that everyting went well.
I have no idea what time it was. 1am? 2am? I don't know. I tried to sleep on the small couch in the back of her room. Every hour the nurse or nurses would come in make sure Lidia was still responding. They would check the dialation of her eyes and how they reacted to light. They would ask her questions and ask her to move certain parts of her body. As the days went go on, I would learn more about why they ask her to do certain things and why they did certain things to her.. But the main thing was rest.
What is a Hemorrhagic Stroke?
From the American Stroke Association's website, it states that a hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures. The most common cause of a hemorrhagic stroke is high blood pressure.