Spring Break 2017: The Cerebellar Hemorrhage Edition

Vince Selasky

Dateline: April 15, 2017; 3 a.m.

Awakened by what I believed to be a sinus headache, I wanted to go to the bathroom for some sinus meds and an Aleve®. Sitting on the edge of the bed, feet on the floor, I proceeded to stand up.

Then…BOOM! I collapsed like a puppet whose strings had been cut.

On the floor, I thought, ‘This isn’t right.’ But I come from a long line of stubborn Selasky men, who are also notorious self-diagnosers. “This isn’t right” is a lot easier to swallow than “Something’s wrong.” So, I made my way back to the bed. It was like trying to walk in a bounce house, on a boat, in a storm, stuck in a whirlpool. I fell back into bed repeating my new mantra: “This isn’t right.”

I was able to get a little shuteye, and when I awoke, I was instantly nauseated. I began to dry heave. After that was over, I reached out to John, a friend of mine, for a little help. When he arrived, I told him what I was feeling, and he said, “It sounds like you have vertigo.” I concurred with his diagnosis. (For the record, neither of us has the letters “M.D.” anywhere near our names.)

Once the spinning and the nausea stopped, I was able to get a little more shuteye, and John left, letting me know he was just a phone call/text away. By then, it was late Saturday night, and I was thinking, ‘I got this.’

On Sunday morning, I seemed a bit better. I was even able to sit up for a minute here and there. Then it dawned on me, Flash, my 7-year-old puggle, had to go out and probably needed food and water. So, I made the stupid decision to head down a flight of stairs to where Flash was waiting. It took forever, but I took my time and got it done, all the while thinking, ‘Something’s not right.’

I made my way back upstairs, flopped back in bed, and texted John: “This isn’t right, and it’s not getting better, so we’d better go in.” He came back to my place, looked me in the eye, and said, “You need to know there’s no way I can get you down those stairs.” I told him about my escapade on the stairs earlier that day, and I made it downstairs, outside, and eventually into his car.

We arrived at the ER and quickly told the triage nurse our diagnosis: vertigo. “Has his left eye always looked like that?” she asked. We replied with a collective, “I dunno.” Then we saw the ER doctor and again shared our diagnosis. He began running tests and eventually arrived at what I like to call the drunk test: “Touch your finger to your nose; then reach out and touch my finger.” Piece of cake. First, the right hand — I passed with flying colors. Next up, the left hand. I almost took my eye out and didn’t even come close to his hand, let alone his finger.

Now, mind you, I’ve heard some scary, jaw-dropping things in my life. Things like, “Sorry, sir, that’s not covered under warranty”; “Get your stuff and get out”; and “Will the defendant please rise.” But nothing prepared me for the truth bomb this doctor was about to drop. He looked back at John and said the scariest words I’ve ever heard: “This man has had a stroke.”


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Stroke Rehabilitation

Making the Best Decisions at Discharge After Stroke

The type of rehabilitation and support systems a survivor receives at discharge can strongly influence health outcomes and recovery. In this, the first part of a two-part series on stroke rehab, we offer guidance for the decision-making process required when it’s time to leave the hospital.

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After stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type of rehabilitation. Outpatient therapy may consist of Several types of therapy. Whether a patient is referred to inpatient or outpatient therapy depends on the level of medical care required.

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Following a stroke, about two-thirds of survivors receive some type rehabilitation. In this second of our two-part series, we want to alleviate some of the mystery, fear and anxiety around the inpatient rehab part of the stroke recovery journey.
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AHA-ASA Resources

The Support Network

When faced with challenges recovering from heart disease or stroke, it’s important to have emotional support. That is why we created a network to connect patients and loved ones with others during their journey.

Caregiver Guide to Stroke

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Stroke Support Group Finder

To find a group near you, simply enter your ZIP code and a mile radius. If your initial search does not pull up any groups, try

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Let's Talk About Stroke Patient Information Sheets

Let's Talk About Stroke is a series of downloadable patient information sheets, created by the American Stroke Association, that presents information in a question-and-answer format that's brief, easy to follow and easy to read.

Request Free Stroke Information Packets

Fill out this online form to request free information about a variety of post-stroke topics.
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Our occipital lobe, the smallest of the four lobes of the cerebral cortex, controls how we visually interpret our world.

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When Stroke Affects the Parietal Lobe

The parietal lobe helps us make sense of sensory information, like where our bodies and body parts are in space, our sense of touch, and the part of our vision that deals with the location of objects.

When Stroke Affects the Frontal Lobe

Of the four lobes that make up the cerebral cortex, the frontal lobe is the largest. It plays a huge role in many of the functions that make us human — memory, language, movement, judgment, abstract thinking.

When Stroke Affects the Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe has several functions, mainly involved with memory, perception and language.

When Stroke Affects the Brain Stem

The brain stem serves as a bridge in the nervous system. It sits at the top of the spinal column in the center of the brain. When a stroke happens there, it can cause a few different deficits and, in the most severe cases, can lead to locked-in syndrome.

When Stroke Affects the Thalamus

The thalamus can be thought of as a "relay station," receiving signals from the brain’s outer regions (cerebral cortex), interpreting them, then sending them to other areas of the brain to complete their job.
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Our new department highlighting the good work being done by stroke support groups from around the nation. If you are part of a successful support group we should consider featuring, let us know!