Monday, May 26, 2014
So this all actually started on May 6. I started to feel poorly. You know the body aches, tired and a migraine headache. I actually went home a little early that day from work. I took a nap, felt a little better and thought I was over it. Until the middle of the night. I was sick. Really sick. But then I thought this illness was out of my system and I would rebound quickly. I went to work the next day. Mostly because there was a meeting that I had been looking forward to and didn't want to miss. I made it through the day, but barely. I became couch bound from the minute I came through the door of our house.
This was the last night of confirmation, May 7. I napped and tried to will myself to be better, but it wasn't working. The headache was intensifying and I couldn't do it. So Scott drove Gracie and her friend to church. While he was gone things got worse. Nausea, vomiting, my head felt as though it may explode. Scott offered to take me to Urgent Care and I said no. Time came for him to pick up the girls. Almost right away after he left I started to feel even worse. I made it to the bathroom and was sick once again. And I was so weak. My head was pounding and I felt as though something had ruptured in my brain. I could barely get up off the floor in the bathroom, but I did and made my way back to the couch. I literally fell onto the couch. I could feel myself fading into a major fog or tiredness. And then Bailey, my dog, started nudging me with his nose. And then he started pawing me on my chest. At that moment this was incredibly annoying to me. I tried to get him to stop, but he wouldn't. He did calm down a bit, but continued to lay his head on my chest. I know now that he was trying to keep me awake. And he did an excellent job. I love that boy. By the way, the girl dogs were on the floor at my side the whole time, too.
Scott and Gracie got home and I told Scott I was now seeing circles of color and flashing lights in my peripheral vision. I need you to call for help. He dialed nurse direct and she wanted to send an ambulance. Scott said he could get me to the ER faster than she could send an ambulance. Away we went. As we approached the ER I told Scott I didn't think that I could walk. In to the ER Gracie went and a wheelchair was brought for me. And this is where I started to fade. What I will tell you now is not from my memory, but from Scott and Gracie. I couldn't answer simple evaluative questions that the doctor and nursing staff were asking. My blood pressure spiked to 255/110. My veins were not cooperating and the nurses couldn't get an IV into either of my arms. And then I started to seize. I experienced a grand mal seizure that lasted well over a minute. Gracie and Scott saw the start of it and a nurse seeing how upset Gracie was took them to the waiting room. The staff ended up putting a hypodermic needle of Adavan into my thigh to help stop the seizure.
At this point the doctor told Scott that I may have a brain bleed and that they were doing a CT scan on my head. That test came back negative. But I needed to have more testing done and so arrangements were made to take me to the hospital. I remember none of this. I guess I actually got to have two ambulances because they needed an extra person in the back with me. I am told that we left the ER with lights and sirens blazing. All the way through town. Gracie also told me later, because I asked, that a couple of the paramedics were pretty cute. She said one especially. And I guess that paramedic asked me if I knew where I was (at the ER) and I told him a building. He said, well she's not wrong!
The next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital room with Scott looking over me. You scared us he said. We thought we might lose you. I could see it in his face. Something that happens between people when they have known each other for 23 years. This was big. He held my hand and I slipped in and out of sleep. I know I asked for lots of clarification and had Gracie and Scott repeat things over and over trying to understand what happened. They were and still are patient with me and helped me understand.
In the morning I saw my doctor, two neurologists and internist and had all sorts of tests. By this time I had two IV lines in my arms and all sorts of monitoring devices attached to me. My mom and Amy showed up and that was a great comfort. My dad called our Pastor. He told my dad that he was terribly sick and would send someone else. A lovely woman named Melva came to pray with us. I felt very blessed.
I had an MRI with contrast dye and without. I had another CT scan and an EEG. My headache was still there and getting worse again. I really couldn't take much for pain because of the test I was having, but in the end I did receive relief and relaxed. One more little story is that I bit my tongue when I was having my seizure. Oh man did that hurt. Thankfully the cafeteria has awesome ice cream and shakes.
So in the end I was in the hospital for two days. I had every test possible. I do not have diabetes, epilepsy, a tumor, an aneurism, no strokes, no heart or kidney issues. I have been checked out top to bottom. Literally. And it's a mystery.
The good news is that I am on seizure and high blood pressure medication. This should prevent another episode. The bad news is that I can't drive for three months. They suggest I don't take baths or swim. Things I never would have thought of. I can't really be as independent as I'm used to. But this doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would.
I have to thank so many. I had such lovely nurses at St. Mary's. Massa and Carol. Lovely and kind. The doctors were funny and helped me understand that I need to be patient and let my brain "reboot" itself. My sister for giving me the best head massage ever. My mom for coming to stay with me a couple of days. My dad for his reassuring phone calls. My principal, Sally and friends at work. Everyone made such an impact on me. And my heart almost can't hold all the love I have for Scott and Gracie and all of the care they have given me.
I have received cards, texts, emails, flowers and prayers that I definitely feel. I have to say that I am usually the caregiver, not the one being cared for. This is a new perspective for me. And this is what I have learned. Nothing matters. Stress over life, work, the future. Whatever burdens you, it just isn't that important. Today, the here and now is what counts. Faith, family and friends, that's what matters. With that kind of support all the rest of life can be dealt with. It's really that simple.