The Texans were leading at the 21-3 at halftime, but lost the game 27-24.
Kubiak was taken to a local hospital in an ambulance, and spent Sunday night and all day Monday in the hospital. He was discharged on Tuesday. That’s a pretty standard hospital stay for someone who has had a TIA.
A Transient Ischemic Attack is a serious, but misunderstood, medical condition, caused by a temporary stoppage of blood flow to the brain.
The confusion about TIAs is caused by the fact that much of the published information about TIAs is vague and misleading.
The American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association website says that a, “TIA is caused by a clot; the only difference between a stroke and TIA is that with TIA the blockage is transient (temporary).”
That is a factual statement, but then the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association website says something that doesn’t always seem to match the reality of the situation.
“TIA symptoms occur rapidly and last a relatively short time. Most TIAs last less than five minutes; the average is about a minute.”
The Mayo Clinic website says, “A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is like a stroke, producing similar symptoms, but usually lasting only a few minutes and causing no permanent damage.”
But while the actual TIA may only last a minute or less, I know from personal experience that, the symptoms can last much longer than that.
My doctors tell me I had a TIA last week and the symptoms lasted for about four hours. During that period of time, I didn’t know how old I was; I didn’t know what year it was, and I didn’t know who the President of the United States was.
There are two other reasons why TIAs are so misunderstood: there are a wide range of symptoms and TIAs don’t leave any trace. When the blood clot dissolves, which happens naturally, there is no way to trace the cause.
The American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association list three major symptoms of a TIA:
- Face Drooping
- Arm Weakness
- Speech Difficulty
They then list five other symptoms:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, lack of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
To the best of my knowledge, I had none of the three main symptoms, and only one of the other five symptoms. My only symptom was “sudden confusion.” One second I was fine, and the next second I wasn’t sure where I was or what I was doing.
I knew enough to call my doctor, but that took me forever because I had so much trouble using my cell phone. There seemed to be no communication between my brain and my fingers. I should have called 911, but I was too confused to even think of that, and I don’t remember anyone suggesting that I do so.
I don’t know if Gary Kubiak had any of the three main symptoms, but he definitely had symptom #7 “Sudden lack of balance or coordination.”
The American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association website goes on to say that, “about a third of people who experience TIA go on to have a stroke within a year.”
The Mayo Clinic reports that about half of those strokes happen within a year after the Transient Ischemic Attack.
Kubiak will not coach the Texans this week’s game with the Arizona Cardinals, but he is expected back on the sidelines for next week’s game against the Oakland Raiders.
Here’s hoping he never has another TIA, or a full blown stroke.