Thursday, June 10, 2010

Heads or Tails?

Oh, yeah...remember that whole I-had-a-stroke thing I said I'd get back to you about...well....okay.

So I guess it was in January that I had a follow-up visit with my neurologist. He cheerfully went over the fine details of the event, commented on my boyfriend he'd met in the ER ("He seems like a good guy. You're still with him, right?") and inquired about my current semester's workload. After a few physical tests -- the whacking of the knee, the squeezing of the fingers and the closing of the eyes along with the touching of the nose -- he went to grab his attending to confirm all of the whatnots we'd covered. As they approached the door, I could hear excitement in his voice. They entered and he was smiling as he explained that the doctor on staff had been through nearly the exact same event as I had.

She explained that one day she lost the ability to find words. After awhile, all was better, so she ignored the signs and went on with her life. About four days later, she decided that as a neurologist, she should probably address the matter and looked into what had happened. Young, healthy and active, she'd had a stroke. Another test: hole in her heart.

Working at one of the finest teaching hospitals in the Midwest, she had access to oodles of information and countless qualified opinions. What did she do? She entered a study that basically flips a coin. Heads: surgery to close the hole. Tails: monitored aspirin therapy. Her recommendation...join the study.

No doctor was comfortable telling me I should have the surgery, yet they weren't ruling it out either. Leaving it to the fates seemed only appropriate.

But instead of enrolling in the study, I just studied. I was in the middle of that semester, after all.

So just a couple of weeks ago, I had another follow-up with my charming neurologist. Same review of the story (I think he gets a kick out of that part), the poking and prodding and squeezing. Another attending came by. Another opinion. Another test. And as I left KUMed after my semi-annual radiation dose, I popped my head into the cardiology offices. The gals who are administering the study took time and filled me in on a few details. I really couldn't see a reason to not participate. I'm going to be looking for guinea pigs for my studies some day, right? And guinea pigs who are young, active, low-risk, have had strokes and have holes in their hearts don't come around every day. Count me in.

So today I will sign on the dotted line. They'll take some blood from my juicy veins and probably do another test or two. Sometime next week I'll be randomized.

Heaven forbid my semester breaks be uneventful...

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