Monday, April 1, 2013
No, I'm not kidding.
Guy left for church late and frazzled yesterday morning. He was supposed to fill in on the organ, and learned when he arrived that a speaker had canceled and he would also be filling in at the last minute there. He ran up on the stand to sit down after the meeting was already underway.
Between meetings he came home, fed me, got me my shot and got Jonah ready, and then went back to church. At the end of church, the family piled through the door and began the ritual hunger-announcing and clothes-shedding. Guy sat at the end of the bed staring out the window. I asked if he was okay, and he turned and looked at me with a red face and eyes full of tears. "I don't know what's happening. I can't remember anything."
I called him over to me and started asking questions. Nothing. He didn't remember the day before, that morning, playing the organ, speaking, or coming home to feed me. He had no idea how he got the kids home. He was terrified and held back tears.
I assessed him for a stroke, but didn't see anything physical happening. I talked to him for a few minutes and decided this wasn't just a momentary lapse. He had no memory of the day, or much of the day before. I didn't know what else to do... I called Kathy and Bishop.
I told Guy to lay down, and I got dressed, rallied the kids, got my walker, and packed my medicine and some food. Guy sat on the bed staring at his medical card on his lap. His expression was blank, and dull, and he looked like he was just calmly waiting in line at a grocery store.
Bishop came and put us into the car. As we drove, every few minutes Guy would ask with sudden concern, "Did I play the organ?" I learned quickly to just say yes, without more details. The more he realized he had forgotten each time his mind looped, the more upset it made him. Once in a while he would ask how he got home, and looked very shocked each time I told him he had driven, particularly knowing he had driven the kids.
At the front desk, the clerk asked why we were there. I could see Guy in the security monitor, hands in pockets, aloofly gazing around the room, and I whispered "I think my husband may be having a stroke." The woman startled, and wide-eyed, asked, "Him?!". Yes, I told her, explaining about the sudden lapse in memory. She hurried us into triage, and the nurse there quickly assessed him and moved him into a room.
Guy was on auto pilot. He did what he was told. He flatly answered questions. He startled sometimes when I was asked to answer for him, not prepared to hear about things he had done unknowingly.
As the next hour went by, wisps of memory began to return, beginning with the furthest memories lost, those of an Easter Egg hunt at our friends house the day before, and later, of us watching movies in bed in the evening. Between CAT scans, EKG, chest xrays, and blood tests, more memories began to return. Soon he could remember the morning stress, being late, and snatches of church.
The doctor came in twice, once when the preliminary tests came back looking reassuring, and again later when all tests came back ruling out a stroke, heart attack or some other neurological event. We were told (both times, though Guy didn't really retain it the first time around) that Guy had had a rare event (there's that word again) called Transient Global Amnesia. With no head trauma or any other physical cause, it is a result of extreme stress, emotional trauma and physical exhaustion. It's almost a wonder it didn't happen sooner. Guy said it should have happened for April Fool's day. Kinda not funny.
We were told TGA's almost never recur, are not a foreshadowing of stroke or other looming crisis, and they usually resolve in a few hours, though his memories may never return for the missed time.
I can only say right now that I am grateful it waited until I was out of the hospital so that I could be with him, for each of our sakes, and for the kids. The big boys are traumatized.
Bishop took us home to his house, and Kathy created a Loaves and Fishes miracle, making her Easter dinner stretch to feed two large families with plenty left over. My kids even got to dye eggs with them. What a blessing they have been to our family.
I didn't fare too well. The Micro PEs are pounding me, and 4 hours in the wheelchair finished the job. Guy is asleep beside me on the couch right now. I am so grateful he is okay.