Our webinar this month is all about traumatic brain injuries. Dr. Jenkins just returned from a multi-day seminar and we are super excited to pass the learning on to all of you. TBIs refer to a variety of conditions such concussions, strokes, or really any injury that occurs to the brain after birth.
I, however, would like to focus my blog on strokes though. As this is something that has affected my own life. I don’t talk about it much because it still brings me to tears and if my keyboard isn’t working tomorrow it will be from said tears ruining the electronics. But this is important.
Rewind your clock to Wednesday, February 8th 2012. I am 20 years old, a straight A university student. I am at a friend’s house, just relaxing on her big brown leather couch sipping on a glass of rosé.
My phone rings. I distinctly remember looking down and wondering why on earth my father was calling me; my parents always texted me. I stepped out into the hallway for what was to be one of the most horrific moments of my life.
My mom had just been in a serious car accident. My dad was driving through the night from a remote oil patch to catch the first flight from Edmonton to Kelowna and he needed me to pick him up at the airport.
She had lost control on an icy hill and went over a 75ft embankment just before the guardrail started. Beautiful view right?
She had broken her right upper arm, her cheek bone was broken in a couple places, she had nearly been scalped by the bumper when it came through the windshield, and she had suffered a serious concussion (the pictures are too horrific share). But she was alive.
Saturday morning at 4 o’clock my dad woke me with yet more bad news: mom had just suffered a stroke and the right side of her body was paralyzed. In the accident, she had tore the internal corotid artery and it had thrown a clot.
My dad moved into a hotel near the hospital to help her through what was to be a very long recovery. I dropped out of school, took a leave from work, and moved home to help with my two younger siblings who were 10 and 16.
When I returned to school, I took every single course that I could on the brain. I wanted to know more: I wanted to understand what had happened.
There are two types of strokes: hemorrhagic and ischemic. Hemorrhagic strokes are when an artery or blood vessel in the brain ruptures. Ischemic strokes are when there is a blockage, typically a clot, in one of the arteries or vessels and the majority of strokes are ischemic. Both types result in a disruption in the blood flow to and through the brain.
It has been four and half years since my mom’s accident and she is still dealing with side effects: memory problems, muscles weakness on the right side, etc.
Diagnosing a stroke quickly is critical. The most common symptoms are confusion, dizziness, and a lack or coordination. But these can be associated with other conditions as well so here is a little pneumonic to help you.
F is for Face: Is one side of the victim’s face drooping?
A is for Arms: Is the victim able to hold their arms level out in front of them?
S is for Speech: Is the victim slurring their speech?
T is for Time: Time is so so critical. Call for help as soon as you suspect a stroke!
I encourage each and every one of you who read this to tune in to our webinar this month and to get your friends and family tuning in as well: It really could be life changing. Dr. Jenkins is going to be talking about the latest research around traumatic brain injuries and how to treat them once they have occurred. When he returned from the seminar, I was so excited about the implications it could have in my mother’s life and I couldn’t wait for him to share it with all of you.
If you can’t tune in live, make sure to still register and you will be emailed a link to view the replay. You really don’t want to miss this one.