My Diagnosis: Part 3 (Conclusion)


Now, I was on Warfarin, the most common “blood thinner” (Actually, it is classified as an Anti-Coagulant) for approximately three years, taking my medication faithfully the entire time, I had regular appointments at my anti-coagulation nurse when needed. I was working for Unisys, yes, Unisys, on a midnight shift it was approximately 4 AM on 2 September 2011, and I had a stroke.

It was an ischemic stroke, rather than a hemorrhagic stroke, which means that my blood was still too thick, thus the stroke. Now, I had no idea that I had had a stroke. My head hurt like hell, I lost the ability to talk, and I suddenly became very stupid. Somehow, I survived my shift, I went home and fell asleep.

I slept all day on Saturday and Sunday. Monday morning, my manager at Unisys called me on the telephone and fired me, without explanation. I then had my wife take me to the hospital, The University of Utah Hospital. So, the stroke occurred at approximately 4 AM on Friday morning, I got to the hospital in the afternoon of 5 September, when I got the diagnosis that, yes, indeed, I had had a stroke.

Now, I know that there is a medication that one had a stroke and got to a hospital within about three hours, that would prevent most, if not all, of the effects of a stroke. However, since I was on Warfarin, even if I knew I had a stroke, I couldn’t take that medication.

If my wits were about me, which they weren’t, I could have filed for workman’s compensation. However, I didn’t even think about this until the time limit for filing for workman’s compensation had expired.

The next year was hell for me. had gone to speech therapy a few times, when I had decided to go to the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. That was about a month after my stroke, I guess.

See, some VA’s have bad reputations, however the Salt Lake City VA hospital is a damn good VA. It is huge, so it may take a week or two to get an appointment, sometimes, but, for te most part, the Salt Lake City VA is probably one of the best in the United States.

I went to speech therapy three times a week, yes, three times a week for about a year. or so. I had relearned alot of my vocabulary at speech therapy, until the lady at the VA told me that she cannot teach me any more, I have depleted all of her knowledge and ability.

I went to weekly occupational therapy, weekly vocational therapy, weekly mental health, a weekly memory meeting, and other various and sundry rehabilitation courses sponsored by the VA. This is because my stroke killed my life. Everything I knew how to do was GONE.

See, my stroke did most damage to my cognitive abilities. My IQ dropped to approximately 80 from about 120. This comes from my Neuro-Psyche evaluations I have had in the past. Thus, my brains weren’t working anymore, I get “bewildered” alot. To the point that I do not trust my own judgement much of the time.

In addition to my cognitive abilities taking a major hit, I have right-side weakness, I walk with a limp, My Fovela has been degenerated due to my stroke (the Fovea is at the base of one’s retina, thus my eyesight in my left eye is “wonky”), my sense of smell is somewhat impaired, and half of my tongue is numb and I cannot taste things as well anymore.

Most importantly, my “Executive Functions”…. hmmm…. aren’t functioning. This is that part of one’s mental faculty that governs regulates attention, inhibition, working memory (short-term memory), task switching, reasoning, problem solving, and planning. Essentially, I have become very irresponsible, and somewhat … well… stupid.

Welcome to my life!

In addition to my stroke, because I have a blood clotting disorder that has caused Portal Vein Thrombosis, some doctors think that I have Cirrhosis. In addition, I also have Gilbert’s Syndrome, which causes my bilirubin to be higher than it should be.

So, I went to the VA in Minneapolis and a doctor ran some tests, which gave me a diagnosis of Gilbert’s Syndrome. Gilbert’s syndrome is not really a disease, and it isn’t really bad. It is a liver disorder that causes higher levels on indirect bilirubin, but normal direct bilirubin. People with Gilbert’s Syndrome could cause some jaundice due to stress, exertion, fasting, and infections. But that jaundice is harmless. BUT, it does give people some concern as they mis-interpret it as Cirrhosis.

On the amusing side effect of Gilbert’s Syndrome is that it reduces the risk of Coronary Artery Disease, ALOT. Thus, I am also nearly immune to hardening of the arteries.

WINNING!!!

So, there is a part of my diagnosis that is good!

Well, I guess that that is the extent of my diagnosis, I guess.

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About Kevin Benko

I'm a fifty-something generic humanoid sack of water and meat.

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