Category Archives: illness

A Life Altering Experience – Part 1

Share

A Life Altering Experience

When my husband, Ron, had his first stroke in 2009, he had just turned 58. How is that possible?

It happened before my eyes. It was Saturday, September 26th around noon. Isn’t it remarkable how we remember small details of a life altering experience?

Ron was standing in front of me; we were chatting about his pinched nerve. Just a week before, Ron became dizzy at work, and his employer insisted that Ron go to the emergency room. A co-worker took him to the closest hospital, and an ER doctor suspected that Ron had a pinched nerve that was causing his dizziness. The doctor referred Ron to a chiropractor.

He had just arrived home from treatment with the chiropractor when it hit.

While standing in front of me, in an instant, the left side of his face from his forehead to his jaw drooped down, and his words became a little slurred. He could walk and move both arms. He had no tingling anywhere or dizziness. Was it a stroke? He’s only 58. Was I overreacting? Did he fit the criteria or warnings of a stroke? I had that debate in my head for about 30 seconds and then took charge.

I told him to get in the car; that I was taking him to the emergency room. Like most men, he argued, but he couldn’t see what I was seeing. Hospital personnel approached my car as it came to a roaring stop in front of the ER entrance. I shouted to him that my husband was a “stroke alert.”

A stroke alert upgrades the time frame and service for medical attention, like upgrading to Firsthospital3 Class from Coach. A page overhead was heard throughout the hospital: Stroke Alert, Emergency Room. The page was repeated two more times. Unwillingly, I began to take this all in. Ron was seen immediately by a slew of doctors and nurses. He started having some paralysis on the left side of his body. Alas, the tingling symptom arrived at the party. And he had a headache now. Ron had IVs inserted, and wires slapped on, and beeping in under five minutes. The doctors asked me a lot of questions. They were glad I got him there when I did. I started trembling, realizing, praying. Everyone had solemn facial expressions and serious voices. They believe Ron was suffering a stroke.

The color drained from my face and fear flooded my body. I looked for a chair and sat down, frozen. Ron went for a priority MRI. I waited. Alone for the first time since this nightmare started, I called our son and totally lost it. He couldn’t understand what I was saying. You know how garbled your words are when you’re hysterical and try to talk? That was me. I finally got out some English—”dad,” “stroke.” Our son was on the next plane home. He also had the good sense to call family, but I didn’t know that until they appeared in the ER. I had some support now. And we all waited. Waited to hear how badly the brain was compromised. My mind drifted.

DSC00239We were living comfortably, at the time, in our empty nest. Ron played softball in a league during the summer and coached basketball during the winter. He was very active and fit. We were both working with great jobs that allowed us to have security in our retirement. Ever since childhood, a dream of mine was to live in the country on horse property. We started looking at small farms nearby.

Our son was happy. He had moved to New York City to pursue his second Masters Degree, plus his girlfriend (now wife) lived there. It was a win-win for him.

Life was good.

Then the MRI results were back. The neurosurgeon approached me. He said Ron was being moved to ICU. They found a blood clot in his brain. The plan was to go in and try to remove it. Surgery was scheduled for the next day, first thing. I swear I can hear this conversation like it was yesterday.

Ron handled the surgery fine but because of the location of the clot, it could not be removed hospital4without making matters worse, like killing Ron. It would have to remain in his brain. The hope was the brain would construct pathways around the blockage. So after a week in ICU, two weeks in rehab, and three months of outpatient psychical therapy twice a week, Ron could walk again and use his left arm. His speech improved. But cognitively, the damage was permanent. Ron would not be able to work again.

The medical bills were staggering. And I mean staggering. Ron sold his 79 Roadrunner, his motorcycle, and his Mercedes. And we still owed over $100,000.

But we were just at the beginning of our crisis. A life altering experience for us wasn’t over.

Tune in tomorrow for A Life Altering Experience – Part 2.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

 

 

 

Your Mind Can Make You Sick – Dr. Sandy Nelson

Share

But what is quackery? It is commonly an attempt to cure the diseases of a man by addressing his body alone. -Henry David Thoreau

IMG_1681Worry can cause high blood pressure and stomach disorders. Anger can cause heart disease. Even cancer can have a beginning that originated with emotional distress. A focus on emotional health has been minimized for so long that it’s not surprising what scientists are discovering. Ignoring your mental health can have the same consequences as neglecting your physical health.

There are conclusive clinical studies that show clear connections between our emotions and our physical health. Researchers believe that 50 percent of people who see their physician have physical symptoms directly caused by their emotions. Some researchers think that amount is as high as 90 percent.

There’s a scientific reason why feelings impact physical health. Different parts of the brain are associated with specific emotions, and they are connected with IMG_2962 (1)certain hormone patterns. The release of hormones affects our bodies. When a person is aggressive and anxious, too much nor-epinephrine and epinephrine is released into the body, even while the person appears to be relaxed. Experts are convinced that a person with prolonged anger will experience negative changes in blood chemistry. The arteries thicken, and an excess of hormones cause blood vessel muscles to constrict which raises blood pressure and narrows the arteries. This can result in chronic hypertension, stroke, or heart failure.

Many studies conducted have shown that cancer-prone persons tend to hide, ignore, or deny their feelings—especially anger, resentment, and depression. They also determined that three specific emotional characteristics predispose a person to developing cancer: a perceived lack of closeness with one or both images (47)parent’s, responding to stress with a sense of hopelessness, and bottling up emotions or having no emotional outlets. Hiding, ignoring, or denying emotions has been linked so closely with cancer proneness that many researchers are now considering it a valid risk factor for cancer.

Cancer survivor and author Kris Carr wrote: If you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. 

Do you dismiss the importance of dealing with emotional stuff? Understandably most people want to forget about past hurts, disappointments, and even some childhood memories. But it would seem that your body remembers it if you fail to resolve it mindfully. If you don’t address it, your body will express it. Whatever you have been avoiding emotionally, deal with it today for a healthier tomorrow.

For more details about the latest scientific proof that attitudes and emotions do indeed affect physical health, read Mind/Body Health: The Effects of Attitudes, Emotions, and Relationships by authors B. Hafen, K. Karren, K. Frandsen and N. Smith.

Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014 Dr. Sandy Nelson E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com