Jan 09, 2014 - 5:33 pm
I've been in the hospital for the last two days and wanted to share some important information I found out the hard way. I had a moderate brain stem stroke this time last year. The accute symptoms have resolved with time and rehab, but I'll always have a balance problem. A few days ago I felt a wave of vertigo, just like I did last year. It happened again but was minor so I was alert, but not concerned. Two days ago it hit me 10 times worse than last year and nearly knocked me to the ground. My eyes were jumping up and down - verticle nystagmous, much faster than last year, so we went to the ER. An MRI showed no new infarcts so the neurologist and internal medicine docs did more tests to find out what was causing the stroke symptoms.
It turn out that when people who have had a prior stroke get a urinary tract infection (I had no idea...had no symptoms yet) they CAN develop an "unmasking syndrome" where prior stroke symtoms come back. It doesn't always happen, but when it does, it's usually with a UTI. It can happen with pneumonia or a bacterial blood infection too. Doesn't happen with ANY other infection or stress to the body. The doctors have no idea why. There is so much about the brain they don't know.
So I'm on Cipro for 3 days which will kill the UTI and the neurologist says the symptoms should resolve by next week as soon as the brain settles down. I asked how I was supposed to know when I was having a stroke or if it was unmasking syndrom. The doc said there is no way to tell the difference, so I have to go to the ER every time this happens and plan on being there a couple of days. Hopefully it never will again. So be forewarned if you have had a stroke. This can happen to you.