This series of blogs isn’t meant to elicit sympathy but hopefully to inform and create awareness. I do however, thank you in advance for your thoughts.
Well, it’s been almost two months since my last post and a lot of things have happened. A lot. This particular topic will be done in multiple posts, and for those who don’t already know what has been doing on, you’ll understand why shortly.
I’m someone who believes in going for their physical every other year (no health issues so yearly isn’t called for), and went for mine as scheduled July 8th. Being of a certain age, I always book an appointment for two weeks after my physical. I want to know, and track, “the numbers”. I figure if they find a problem, I want to know and address it right away. There are a lot of issues in my family; blood pressure, diabetes, hypoglycemia, etc., so I track my numbers to make sure things are good. Personally, my blood pressure has always been textbook; blood sugar – amazing; cholesterol – generally that of an 18-year old but up .3 this year. Anyway, I had the appointment for my follow-up booked for July 22nd. On July 15th, I had an odd feeling in my head – for those who feel air pressure changes, you’ll know what I mean. I put it down to that. The next morning I woke up with vertigo. Not a feeling you want to have, but I’ve had it before due to ear infections etc. It generally lasts a day and I’m good. Not this time. When I wasn’t over the vertigo by Tuesday, I called my doctor. Unfortunately, he was going on vacation the next week and he was fully booked. They said they’d put me down and call if there was a cancellation. I’m not going to go into all of the detail but, after two visits to a different doctor, things still weren’t improving.
On Monday, July 25th while standing at my kitchen sink I had a mild stroke. I believe this is when it happened anyway. Given the symptoms (which I’ve now researched some) and how I remember feeling, I’m pretty sure this is when it happened. Vertigo will give you a headache and nausea – due to the constant spinning of everything – but at this time I had an overwhelming feeling of nausea, and actually threw up.
Not even thinking ‘stroke’, I figured the worst was over. I was taking the meds the doctor gave me and had advised needed two days to take effect, so I figured I’d give the meds their time. After 48 hours I still didn’t feel any better and was contemplating taking a cab to Emergency the next morning. My sister had offered to drive 2 hour to take me but yeah, I’m stubborn, I didn’t want to put her out, and really didn’t want to sit in Emergency by myself for hours on end so I figured I’d wait one more day until my partner was here and have him take me. He works out of town and is here on weekends.
As luck would have it, he got off work early that day so when he arrived we immediately headed to the hospital. We arrived at 2pm and started, “THE WAIT”. During our four hours of waiting, he made sure I drank an energy drink, as I know I hadn’t been drinking enough fluids over the past two weeks. He also got some chicken soup for me and, when chatting with a woman who came in by herself, after us, expressed his concern and asked he if she was OK. (She’d basically curled up in a ball in the chair due to pain from a gallbladder removal she’d had numerous issues with). She was surprised a stranger would express concern, but that’s just how how he is. Me, I was sitting with my eyes shut most of the time, trying to keep the world from spinning.
When we finally got in to see the doctor, I was sent for a CT Scan. The initial diagnosis….possible brain tumour. These were my actually thoughts. “OMG! Really! Now you have to go in, do a biopsy and figure out what it is, before we even think treatment!” I also thought, “He didn’t sign up for this.” My partner and I have only been together for four months at his point. I’d send him home earlier, to just get a break and he wasn’t there when the doctor and nurse came in to tell me. Yes, I was alone when I got this news.
When he returned and I told him they thought it might be a tumour, he didn’t bat an eye. I was headed for another CT Scan, this one with a dye added to show the veins and make a clear diagnosis. The initial scan showed a 2cm area they were concerned with (possible tumour). When I got back from this scan, and they got the results, it was determined I had a stroke, a bleed in the cerebellum, the area that deals with balance and vision. Both my partner and I had the same response, “Good..now we just deal with the recovery”. They advised I was being admitted, so I sent my partner home to get some rest as I figured one of us might as well get some.
These are the hospital bracelets from my “adventure”. One red one is from Emergency, they put a different one on you when you are admitted, with a different bar code; and the yellow one advises they needed to watch me as I may fall. The nurse told us if it has stripes as well, you may be violent. The picture is out of focus for a couple of reasons; to keep my information private, and to show how I currently see a lot of things when not wearing my glasses. OK, so my vision may not be quite this bad. But it’s the best I could focus my phone camera, when not wearing my glasses.
This is the end of this post. I’ll continue tomorrow. I’m trying to get on the computer a bit each day, to help things heal, and my head is telling me I’ve done enough for today.