Anatomy of a Stroke -- Ted Loy

Other people suffer strokes. Right? Wrong! Until you have one yourself - which I did on the evening of April 30, 2013. In one brief moment life changed drastically. As I found out later, what I experienced is called the Wallenberg Syndrome, lateral medullary syndrome. It was caused by a blockage/thrombosis (about one cm.) in the artery serving the left side of the medulla oblongata, the lower end of the brain stem. Due to this blockage there were several malfunctions: inability to swallow/dysphagia, vomiting, weakness of the left eye/Horner's syndrome, double vision, deficits in temperature sensation in the right hand, vertigo/unsteadiness, hoarseness, hiccups, some ataxia/ lack of coordination, and a weakness on the left side.

After arriving at the OSF hospital in Bloomington on May 1, the neurologist Dr. Sunil Chauhan) was able to diagnose the lateral medullary syndrome using MRI - and showed us (Donna and me) a photo of the exact location of the blockage/infarction. Because I still retained speech and the use of my limbs (though weakened), Dr. Chauhan said I was "lucky". I told him I do not believe in luck, but I do have a firm confidence in the providence of God.

After two days I was referred to Acute Rehabilitation at the Advocate BroMenn hospital where I experienced some recovery until discharged on May 24. Almost every bodily need was graciously cared for as I slowly progressed from dependence to partial independence. Since being home, I am still on that progression.

All this would not have been possible without the loving care of my wife, Donna, who daily visited me in the hospital and has provided for my every need at home. There is no doubt without her I would have been in a nursing home.

Now, three months after the stroke, I can walk unaided around the house - though still unsteadily. Of great help for therapy has been our almost daily trips to the State Farm pool where I can do the laps I did there prior to the stroke - and walk with the aid of water buoyancy. Also, it has been perfect for Donna to exercise along with me.

How long will it take to get back to complete normalcy? The prognosis for Wallenberg Syndrome projects a six-month average window for the major part of recovery - with additional recovery for a year or more. Right now I can walk in public with Donna holding on, or with the aid of a shopping cart, but it is obvious I am not totally steady.

Swallowing has returned to almost normal. There are no more hiccups, nor is there any more vomiting. The left eye continues to be noticeably weaker and appears to be smaller than the right eye. There is still noticeable weakness on the left side. Also, the right hand at times is cold and is at times sensitive to warm/hot water.

Computer use is normal and continues to be a window to the world.

Donna and I continue to meditate on our favorite verses found in 1Thess 5:16-18.