I finished my 2019 year plan on Friday, January 25.

On Saturday, January 26,  my husband and I had decided it was time to go put our 16-year-old Maltese, Sparty, down.  

Saying goodbye

We had accepted the fact that we were keeping him around more for us and it wasn’t the best thing for him.

I woke early Saturday and cuddled with Sparty as much as he would let me.

About an hour later, I heard Jeff stirring around and heard him doing his usual routine, wrestling on the bed with our 3-year-old Maltese, Puhi.

About 5 minutes later, Jeff called down the hall to me calmly “Melanie, something’s weird”.

I went down to the bedroom to see what was “weird”. Jeff told me he felt dizzy all of a sudden.  He got up to go to the bathroom and kind of stumbled.  You know when you just wake up and are kind of dizzy ….Like that.

He started to feel nauseous from the dizziness and ended up getting ill.  He went to lay back down hoping that would help.  It didn’t.  He got up to go to the bathroom again and this time, I needed to assist.  He got so dizzy he couldn’t make it back to the bedroom, so I made a bed on the floor and he laid there.

Jeff laid on the floor for about an hour… dizzy, sweating and vomiting.

Change of Plans

It was time to get into the hospital.  I drove, but wouldn’t suggest that.

Waiting to get a room in ER

In ER, a CT Scan of his brain was done which revealed nothing unusual.  The nurse came back and told us it’s probably a bad case of vertigo.  About 15 minutes later, the Doctor came in and shared something seemed a little odd (blood pressure high and heartbeat low)

So, Jeff was admitted and then taken for an MRI.  A Neurologist came in and said it appeared Jeff had a stroke and said he planned to keep Jeff to be observed over the weekend, but he should go home Monday.

We were shocked…a  stroke?!  The only experience we knew from strokes, was death, becoming paralyzed, cognitive disruptions.  That’s crazy! Jeff was laying in bed, still very dizzy, but talking to us, completely aware of what was going on and no problems swallowing or raising his arms or legs.

Shortly thereafter, Jeff got a headache and was an 8 on the pain level.  He was taken back for an ultrasound and we then learned that there was a blockage.  His BP had shot way up 176/94.

Ready for a not so good nights sleep

I realized this is not cut and dry.  It is not “he just had a stroke, no big deal, you will be going home”.

Long story short, we (Jeff) ended up spending 7 days in ICU.  An IV with saline was administered to help relieve the swelling in the brain and a neurosurgeon was checking daily to see if the saline was working.  If the swelling continued, Jeff would have surgery to release the pressure. Thank God, the IV solution worked!

Our kids were such a support.

We learned that Jeff had a cerebellar stroke.  The area he had his stroke affects the left part of the body…often causing deafness in the left ear, balance issues and sometimes emotional impairment.

Three months later and he is back to work, has played golf and has started back on some house project, but tires out easily.  His balance is getting better and he is learning to adjust to his new perimeters.  As am I.

Stroke Signs

Takeaways:

  • While the FAST test is a great way for most strokes, it wasn’t beneficial in diagnosing Jeff’s stroke. Not one of the signs applied to his situation
  • Always call an ambulance (if something had happened in the car on the way, I was not equipped to help him as well as a paramedic with equipment)
  • Take a baby aspirin right away
  • The majority of cerebellar artery dissections are caused by Chiropractor adjustments.
  • Do what it takes to lose weight if needed, and avoid salt
  • Get in some form of cardio at least 4 days a week
  • Vertigo that causes nausea and doesn’t go away should be checked out right away
  • Download voice recorder and record every conversation
  • Ask questions… do not be intimidated, but be respectful
  • Life can change in an instant

And back to Sparty

Our poor Maltese, Sparty, was put to rest the week that Jeff was in the hospital. My parents took him to the vet for me.

They shared with me that the vet told them Sparty was ready because as soon as they administered the medicine he was gone.  He had no fight left.  I miss him dearly but have the best memories of the blessing he was to our family.

RIP Sparty
2003 – 2019

28 Comments on When a hard day gets harder

  1. Oh Melanie,
    Oh what a traumatic thing to go through! I am so glad your husband is doing so much better!
    I really appreciate the list of warnings and suggestions you gave as well. Goodness I had no idea about a lot of those things! I am so sorry about your puppy, I know you gave him the best life ever. Goodness you even threw a birthday party for him! Keeping you and your husband in my prayers. Really an excellent post.

    • Thank you so much Amy! The thing is in this case, none of those warning signs pertained to Jeff. I’m just so thankful he was willing to go to the hospital for his dizziness. Thank you for reading!

  2. What a terrible day, indeed. That is crazy about your husband’s stroke. Such an informative piece because I’ve not heard of this kind of stroke. Thank goodness he is so much better!

  3. How shocking! What a terrifying experience! As you said, nothing you would ever expect. Glad to hear he’s doing better. And so sad about your beloved pet. Never easy.

    • Thank you Theresa. It was a total shock. And this is the first time I’ve ever had to put a dog down…not easy, is right. XX

  4. What a scary time that must have been – and on the day you were saying goodbye to your sweet fur baby! Your story is a good reminder to all of us to: 1- be willing to go to the ER and 2- record the conversations, like you said. So glad to hear your husband is in the mend and that you have such special memories of Sparty.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read and comment Lisa. I’m glad you found something to take away from this. Hugs, Melanie

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. Life can change so quick. I’m glad things are better now. I have two fur babies we had to say goodbye to as well. I feel they are still happy pups.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read Pam. This experience definitely changed some priorities. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through saying goodbye to your fur babies. That’s never easy. Xx

  6. Precious Friend, you know how hard it was for me to read this post. A) Because I care about you and reading your pain hurts me too. B) Because my husband suffered a stroke a few years ago as well, I feel empathy (beyond just pain.) — And we are still dealing daily with the after affects of Tommy’s stroke. C) Valen-Tino is a Maltese, and I can’t imagine life without our little doggie. He is my child. I love you, Mel. Neither one of us saw it coming that OUR husband could possibly have a stroke. Recognizing the F.A.S.T. symptoms is critically important for anyone (male or female), especially over 40. Thank you for sharing your experience. I know it wasn’t easy. But today is Best Friends’ Day. Knowledge is Is Power when it comes to taking care of the people closest to us, especially our at-risk-husbands.

    • Thank you, Suzana. You and Tommy have been such an encouragement for us. We will always remember your being so willing to share from your experiences. Definitely challenging times. Losing our Sparty was very hard, but it was harder seeing him suffer and be in pain, so that made it a little easier. Hugs MY precious friend! Xx..Melanie

  7. Oh Melanie,

    Thank you so very much for sharing this very painful day with us.
    I am so happy to hear that your husband is doing better. We are all so aware of the typical signs of heart attacks and strokes, but need to be reminded of the not typical signs.

    It is so easy to slip into the it’s a virus going around mentally. Always better to act than to be sorry. Thankfully you did all the right things.

    I know this had to be hard for you to write, but you are doing us a great service.

    Losing a loved pet is never easy and making the decision to let go is heart wrenching. I know your sweet fur-baby enjoyed the best that life had to offer. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

    Lots of love coming your way girlfriend!

    Rosemary

    • Rosemary…I so appreciate your thoughtful and compassionate response. It has taken me a while to process, but it’s important to share. I was just sure he was dealing with vertigo and we were going to get antivert and sent home.
      So true…better safe, then sorry Hugs, Melanie

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I cannot even imagine how hard this was to experience. I am so thankful for you that Jeff is ok and recovering well. I am curious about chiropractic care…can chiropractic care cause this type of stroke?

    • Thank you Heidi. Jeff was originally told he had a cerebellar artery dissection. The main cause is a trauma , like a chiropractic manipulation, according to Doctors, PT and some google searches. Every physicians first question…have you been to a chiropractor lately. He hadn’t.

  9. Oh my goodness Mel, I’m so sorry all of this happened. That had to be scary! My hubby and I were at a brewery last summer and I saw my hubby’s eyes roll back as he missed reaching for his cup! I thought he was having a stroke. Glad you found out but still a trying time. I’m sorry about your baby bear, as I know what they mean to us. Best wishes to you.
    Jess xx

    • Oh Jess! Hope your husband is ok?? Yes, very scary and I so miss my Sparty but feel we made the right choice.
      Thank you for stopping by. Xo..melanje

  10. I am so sorry. Facing something like this is always so difficult. I’m so glad everyone is doing better, and moving forward.
    Brenda

  11. Melanie, Thank you so much for your brave, heartfelt and valuable post, especially the part about the FAST test and recognizing the early signs of a stroke. This message should be shouted from the rooftop everywhere. Time is of the essence during a stroke. The faster you can get help to someone who is in trouble, the lesser the damage. Administering the “clot busting” drug, TPA, which is short for Tissue plasminogen activator, as soon as possible can be a Godsend. I know this because I suffered a stroke in 2015 and the TPA shot I received in the ambulance minimized the damage I suffered. Having a stroke is a life-changing experience, but I am grateful for the care I received and for having a loving and patient spouse, Suzana Barton — who has an IG account at happygreatday. Making lifestyle changes — diet and exercise, as you mentioned — is critical too. Good luck and God bless you and your husband.

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting Tommy. Oh, I know very well what you two have been through. You two have been so helpful to us and we are so appreciative of your support and encouragement.

  12. Sis,
    Although we went through this almost unbelievable ordeal with Jeff (given his age), you and the kids, you expressed the harrowing and bewildering journey very well and I learned some new things. Events didn’t proceed as expected according to what the doctors were looking for and what was found on the internet. Jeff remained alert and asking detailed questions about his condition. In addition to marveling at God’s goodness throughout I was proud of how you and my grandkids stepped up and supported Jeff and took on responsibilities you weren’t prepared for, never imagining something like this could happen at this time in your lives–house renovation, a wedding, kids getting jobs and a beloved pet that was coming to the endow his life and BAM! This hit.and everything changed. Your blog is well written and informative and could conceivably save someone else’s life. Thanks for sharing. Love you much, Mom

    • Mom…want me to show you how to set up a blog? LOL! Love you lots and you and Dad were with us every step of the way and we are so very appreciative. Love you!

  13. Oh what a scary thing to have happen!!!! I appreciate you sharing this so we can all be a little more informed that strokes aren’t always “normal.” So happy to know things are better. Also, your sweet Sparty is adorable. It’s so hard when they leave this life, they are like our babies!!

    • Thanks for reading and commenting Cammi <3. Was definitely a shocker for us and very scary. Sparty was the best companion for so many years:)

  14. Oh Mel, scary stuff. I am so glad Jeff is doing well. I enjoy seeing your photos.

    I know you miss your Sparty but what a fabulous life he had with you and Jeff!

    Much love,

    Kim

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