For young health care worker, stroke ‘Didn’t even occur to me’


AHA news: for young health care worker, stroke 'Didn't even occur to me'
Whitney Spotts survived a stroke at age 34. Photo: Eric Spotts

An agonizing headache jolted Whitney Spotts awake in the middle of the night.

She hoped she wasn’t getting sick because she was enjoying a rare long weekend with her husband, Eric, and their 18-month-old daughter.

The following day, Whitney stayed in bed with excruciating pain behind her forehead. Later she started vomiting.

It was probably a bad case of the flu, thought Whitney, who worked as an emergency room physician assistant.

Later that night, Eric noticed his wife’s speech was slurred and the right side of her face was drooping. He didn’t know the cause but was alarmed enough to get her medical care.

The ordered a CT scan and immediately saw blood in Whitney’s brain. She’d suffered a stroke. They transferred her to a hospital in downtown Jacksonville, Florida. By then, the 34-year-old had lost the use of her right arm and leg.

“Of course I knew everything about the signs of stroke,” Whitney said. “But when all these things were happening, it didn’t even occur to me, I guess because I was so young.”

Doctors told her the cause was a bursting of something on her brain stem called a cavernous malformation. Also known as a cavernoma or “cav-mal,” it’s an abnormality of the blood vessels that’s usually present at birth. It can occur in any part of the body, but it’s generally only a threat in the brain or spinal cord.

By this point, Whitney couldn’t move her right side or talk, though in her mind she was speaking clearly.

Doctors recommended a risky surgery to remove veins from her brain stem. To get to her brain, the surgeon would have to perform a craniotomy, where part of the skull is removed to expose the brain and then later replaced.

“When the ER doctor came to talk to us, my immediate reaction was complete disbelief and fear,” Eric said.

Meanwhile, Whitney’s immediate family arrived, with her sister and father flying in from California. Whitney was told she would likely be on a ventilator and feeding tube when she came out of surgery.

“I felt terrified, but I also felt almost removed, like a sense of shock came over me,” she said.

When Whitney awoke, she was relieved to find she wasn’t connected to a ventilator or feeding tube. She still couldn’t move her right side, though her facial droop receded quickly. She spent two weeks at the hospital, and four more in rehabilitation hospitals.

Her progress was slow. By the end of her stay, she could walk with assistance and partially move her arm. But she couldn’t bring a fork to her mouth.

“At first, I thought it would be just a few days or weeks, but I finally accepted my new reality that things would be slower,” she said.

The most challenging part was her inability to be active.

“I was the person who did the backflip off the side of the boat,” she said. “I ran all the time. I kayaked. I did yoga on a standup paddleboard. I was super healthy and always moving my body.”

She wonders now whether she overdid it—leading a turbo-charged life, with extreme work demands, a long commute and a young daughter.

“I was aware of the craziness of my life,” she said. “I’m not saying it caused the stroke, but you learn in medicine what stress can do to the heart and the brain. It is a real thing, so it’s kind of silly to think it has no role.”

Once Whitney returned home, she and Eric needed help with their daughter, Stella. Both their mothers pitched in as Whitney continued physical and occupational rehab. Initially she went almost daily, then realized she was trying to force—unsuccessfully—a speedier recovery.

“I had lost my job, couldn’t drive, couldn’t make food, couldn’t put my daughter in her car seat. There were a million things I couldn’t do. I was mad,” she said. “But I knew I needed to slow down.”

Her stroke was in January 2019. She started driving by the end of the year. Although her movement has improved, she still doesn’t have full use of her arm and has balance issues. She tires easily and sometimes has trouble focusing her thoughts. But rides a tricycle to the beach and takes walks.

“Honestly, the emotional part of this has been harder than the physical,” she said. “I want to accept, but not give up. I’m not grateful for how it happened, but I am grateful for the new lens that I look at life through.”

Eric said they both realized how little control they really had over their future.

“We both have a new view on life,” he said. “I know it sounds cliché, but it’s not about accumulating stuff and making plans, or reaching a point of success and then slowing down when the timing is right. It’s about living for the moment and enjoying what you have.”


Blood clots, uncontrolled bleeding and a stroke—all after giving birth


American Heart Association News covers heart and brain health. Not all views expressed in this story reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. If you have questions or comments about this story, please email [email protected]

Citation:
For young health care worker, stroke ‘Didn’t even occur to me’ (2020, May 15)
retrieved 16 May 2020
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-05-young-health-worker-didnt.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.



loading...

Related posts:

Similar to adults, obesity raises kids' odds for severe COVID-19
Germany to lift travel warning for Europe from June 15
Weight, blood pressure higher in younger patients with T2DM
Reducing number of BP meds may be safe in some older adults
At-home gene test for breast, ovarian cancers looks effective
People are avoiding the ER during COVID-19 crisis at their peril: study
In a first, researchers use base editing to correct recessive genetic deafness and restore partial h...
Engineered T cells for type 1 diabetes move closer to clinic
Cardiologist investigates why TAVR might not work for some heart patient
Metaanalyse: Monotherapie der Onychomykose - Biermann Medizin
Belgium to reopen borders with neighbours on June 15
DDG: Ernährungsreport des BMEL ignoriert Ausmaß der Fehlernährung
Cholesterol levels dropping in Western nations—but rising in Asia
Studie: Aussagen zur Ansteckungsgefahr durch Kinder bleiben bestehen
how physicians used it 500 years ago to control the bubonic plague
Uniklinik Ulm bietet nun Fertilitätsbehandlugnen mit Samenspende an
Remote devices for telehealth see surge in demand
Wundheilung detailliert aufgeschlüsselt - Biermann Medizin
Diet, gut microbes affect effectiveness of cancer treatment, research reveals
Forschung abseits von COVID-19: Kommen Krebsmedizin und Co. nun zu kurz?
Helping unlock personalised interventions for kids with developmental disabilities
Diamanttechnik im Herzkatheterlabor - Biermann Medizin
Benzodiazepine use before conception is linked to increased risk of ectopic pregnancy
Verbesserte Wundheilung mit thrombozytenreichem Plasma
Method to identify neural inputs that convey information for defined behaviors
Virchowbund: Die richtigen Lehren aus Corona ziehen
UK mulls 'air bridges' with low-risk countries
3-D-Gebärdensprach-Avatar - Biermann Medizin
A satisfying romantic relationship may improve breast cancer survivors' health
UKE-Studie untersucht Folgen der Corona-Pandemie für die psychische Gesundheit von Kindern
Families and communities are central to the recovery of Sierra Leone's former child soldiers
KMT-Patienten: Sichere Augenversorgung in der Corona-Krise
Expression of certain genes may affect vulnerability to post-traumatic stress disorder
Corona-Pandemie verschlechtert wirtschaftliche Lage der Krankenhäuser
Negative emotions cause stronger appetite responses in emotional eaters
Final states reopen amid worries that protests will spark new COVID infections
Scientists find a switch to flip and turn off breast cancer growth and metastasis
Impact of COVID-19 infection in blood cancer patients
Study in twins finds our sensitivity is partly in our genes
NIH funded research related to every new cancer drug approved from 2010-2016, totals $64B
Social status helped and hindered by the same behaviors and traits worldwide
Concerns mount about two studies on drugs for coronavirus
New CRISPR advance may solve key quandary
Spain records no virus deaths for second day running
Kölner Forschungsprojekt gestartet: COVID-19-Krise aus Sicht des ambulanten Sektors
Understanding the role of cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition in brain health
Neue Nachwuchsgruppe „Zellbiologie der RNA-Viren“ am HPI
Maria shriver and AARP take on Alzheimer's in women
Viel weniger Schlaganfall- und Herzinfarktpatienten in Notaufnahmen
Rolling lockdowns could protect both economies and health in low-income countries
Neue Leitung der Allgemein- und Viszeralchirurgie am Klinikum Kassel
Lab-grown miniature human livers successfully transplanted in rats
Mehr Lebertransplantationen im ersten Quartal
Facts and myths about obesity, emerging as a key factor in COVID-19 hospitalization
Jagd auf lebensbedrohliche Metastasen - Biermann Medizin
Where are kids getting the most 'empty calories'?
Handhygiene: Zunahme von Handekzemen - Biermann Medizin
Tauvid receives approval for tau pathology imaging
COVID-19: Reproduktionszahl genauer geschätzt - Biermann Medizin
You don't smoke, but your home could have thirdhand smoke residue
Evolutionäre Rätsel Säugetierohr - Biermann Medizin
Back to school in masks as Singapore eases virus curbs
Welche Rolle spielen B-Zellen bei kardiovaskulären Erkrankungen?
Pandemic antibiotics surge will cause more deaths: WHO
Studie: Sterberisiko nach Operationen bei Corona-Infizierten erhöht
Lockdowns ease in Florida, Europe with new tourism rules
Reduced humidity linked to increased COVID-19 risk
Glaukomentstehung: Welche Rolle spielt die körpereigene Immunabwehr?
Resistance to immunosurveillance favors cluster cancer metastasis
ADHS: Gleichstromstimulation zeigt klinische Wirkung
Study examines how Americans are coping with COVID-19 stress
Rheumaerkrankungen in der Corona-Situation - Biermann Medizin
Warmer temperatures slow COVID-19 transmission, but not by much
Virus still potent says WHO, after claim by Italian doctor
Engineers design nanoparticles that stimulate the immune system, helping it to attack tumors
Genetic cause of difference in sexual development uncovered
For each day's delay in social distancing, a COVID-19 outbreak lasts days longer
Evidence supports physical distancing, masks, and eye protection to help prevent COVID-19
Study seeks to optimize comfort for patients removed from ventilators at end of life
Europe loosens lockdown as virus tightens grip on Americas
Your brain needs to be ready to remember?
Italy records fewest new virus cases since February
Most Americans still more worried about COVID-19 spread than the economy
Britain takes its biggest step yet out of lockdown
Obesity a major risk factor for COVID-19 hospitalization
Pathogen scientist collaborating on vaccine that could prevent and treat COVID-19
Scientists develop means for detecting early stages of lung problems caused by COVID-19
UTSA software helps patients receive faster post-pandemic care
Almost 6 in 10 Aussies living in aged care are in inadequately staffed facilities
North Korea to reopen schools as virus fears ease
Moscow eases lockdown despite high virus caseload
Hauchdünne Fasern sollen Nerven nach Hirn-OP schützen
Debates rage in Britain as some children go back to school
Mögliches Referenzmessverfahren für die Analyse auf SARS-CoV-2
Putzfimmel im Gehirn - Biermann Medizin
Arbeitsbedingungen in der Intensivpflege prekärer denn je – DGIIN veröffentlicht Stellungnahme
US records 1,225 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours: Johns Hopkins
Coronavirus hopes and fears center on 'immunity'
Assessing cancer diagnosis in children with birth defects
Public health campaigns can do better on cannabis harm reduction

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

Shkencëtarët: Rrezet e diellit arma sekrete kundër koronavirusit

Sat May 16 , 2020
Një pranverë me diell mund të shpjegojë pjesërisht pse rastet e koronavirusit kanë rënë ndjeshëm në javët e fundit, sipas shkencëtarëve. Disa studime kanë sugjeruar se vitamina D mund t’i mbrojë njerëzit të mos kontraktojnë koronavirusi. Rrezet e diellit janë një nga burrimet më të mira të vitaminës jetike. Profesori […]