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What does a stroke feel like?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ridethecliche, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2011
    Tied to a library chair
    Cyberdyne 101, MJ_23 and lumpyduster like this.
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  3. theseeker4

    theseeker4 PGY 1 Physician 5+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2011
    Suburban Detroit, MI
    And here I came into this thread expecting someone to describe symptoms and ask the inter webs if they are having a stroke. Oh well. Cool link though.
  4. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2011
    Tied to a library chair
    Her description of seeing shapes and weird objects and being unable to tell what they were was fascinating and scary. This is one of the most interesting pieces I've read in a while re: patient experience with illness or such.
  5. Promethean

    Promethean Syncretist 2+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2014
    Western PA
    There is a neat TED talk by a neuroscientist recounting her experience of her own stroke. She got to study her own dysfunction. I would google it for you, but I am studying my own profound laziness after a night shift followed by 3 exams. I can't muster the will to walk across the street for ice cream.
    lumpyduster and ridethecliche like this.
  6. Funke

    Funke 5+ Year Member

    Oct 29, 2012
    I don't think I've ever gotten to that point...
    claduva94 likes this.
  7. VeggieBoy


    Apr 18, 2014
    This thread reminded me of that too. It's a really cool talk! Here's the link:
    noolsy likes this.
  8. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Meep Meep Meep 5+ Year Member

    Feb 2, 2011
    Tied to a library chair
    Thanks! I'll definitely take a look at that sometime this week.

    What do people think of the article?
  9. VanEman

    VanEman 2+ Year Member

    May 24, 2014
    Read Jill Bolte Taylor's book, My Stroke of Insight. She was a research scientist and suffered a stroke, and writes about the experience and her recovery. Amazing!
  10. The Buff OP

    The Buff OP -lll-------lll- 2+ Year Member

    Apr 2, 2013
    lol Same here and I was gonna reply with something dumb.

    Like this...
  11. Promethean

    Promethean Syncretist 2+ Year Member

    Jul 2, 2014
    Western PA
    Now that I am not sleep-deprived and mentally depleted from an exam marathon, I took the opportunity to read it fully. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    The writing is excellent, and the subject fascinating. As a nurse who has cared for many stroke patients and a friend of two women who had strokes in their early 20s, I am touched by her openness in exploring what her stroke felt like and what it meant for her as a person.

    As a future physician, I am grateful to her for including medical details. She had symptoms for years that might have suggested a PFO, the detection and closure of which may have prevented her strokes. Migraines and exercise intolerance are nonspecific symptoms, but this is why excellent primary care matters. This wasn't something that was going to be found in a 15 minute, focused clinic visit at a med express. To have prevented her strokes, she would have needed to have a relationship with a thoughtful primary care doctor who took the time to investigate her minor complaints and consider whether they might have a common cause. I don't blame anyone for missing the diagnosis. Rather, I'm saying that to catch it would require something very different than the assembly line medicine model. Her story inspires appreciation of the responsibility that I am taking on, and the need to take it quite seriously.

    I wonder what other end organ damage she may have experienced due to emboli reaching other capillary beds? The brain announces its ischemia, but what other silent ischemic events occurred elsewhere? Were there any other clues that were missed, dots that she hasn't connected yet?

    I'm terrified at the idea that she was driving in between the stroke and the diagnosis. I find driving to be a nerve wracking endeavor with all of my brain engaged.

    I can see why her marriage ended. There were problems there before the stroke, to be sure. If my spouse were to become quiet and less fluent, I wouldn't keep drinking and being jolly with friends, that is for certain. I know it is easy to look back and say what should have been done, but I am very sensitive to changes in the behavior of people that I know well and care about. I couldn't just ignore something like that, even on NYE.
    ridethecliche likes this.
  12. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Thank You for Smoking Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    May 22, 2008
    Deep in the heart of Texas
    Most patients that I've spoken to initially present with a feeling of "weirdness." They usually can't describe it very well but recognize that something "isn't right." As the lesion develops, the symptoms depend on where the stroke occurs. Some patients present with paresthesias (i.e., "weird feelings," things like numbness, tingling, etc.). Some present with weakness, like the classic one-sided weakness you likely know of from pop culture. However, the weakness can be highly localized (e.g., to one set of fingers, the arm, the leg, etc.) rather than affecting an entire part of the body. Some strokes specifically affect higher functions; people might not be able to name common objects, understand what people are saying, or produce understandable speech. Particularly in large hemorrhagic (bleeding) strokes in the brainstem, the person might lose consciousness very quickly.

    So the long-short is that "it depends." Brain function is directly linked to anatomy, thus the symptoms a person has depend entirely on where the stroke happens to occur.
    ridethecliche likes this.

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