Wednesday, March 5, 2014

stroke scare

the last couple of days have been a little crazy.

it all started monday night at work.  i had a headache and then things started getting weird.  i couldn't feel my right arm, then my vision started getting wacky (silvery things in my peripherals and in my direct line of vision), the the right side of my face was going numb, and then my speech was all slurred and i wasn't making any sense when i tried to talk.  it was a good thing i wasn't running any groups or meeting with clients.

i called jeremy and left a super creepy message asking him to come and get me because i didn't think i could drive home.  my friend at work heard me leaving the message and decided the hospital was the best place for me.  so we pow-wowed with some other co-workers, took my vitals, and she took me to the ER.  jeremy took the T to my work, found the car, and drove over to meet us. 

i have had symptoms like this before.  once.  about 5.5 years ago, right after i was diagnosed with my blood clot.  so naturally we thought it was a stroke and my dad took me to the ER.  turns out it was a complex migraine.  i knew the same thing was happening this time and with my blood clot history the symptoms are just too scary to mess around with, so off to the ER we went.

as i was checking into the ER (at 7:20) my symptoms began to subside and i was left with a giant headache.  they did some neuro tests, an EKG, took my blood, and had me wait forever!  they did a CT scan at about 10:30 and said the results would be out in hour.  an hour and half later, i'm still in the ER lobby so i go ask what's going on and tell them i feel fine.  they said they want me to see the dr and i have to wait.  boo!

so i wait.  and get frustrated, because i feel ok, and they won't let me leave.  don't they know i have work at 8:00 in the morning?  i have to get home.  the lobby is just about empty and they finally call my name back at about 1:00 am.  i get to lay down on a bed... HOORAY!  i sit there for a while and wait some more.

a doc comes, does some neuro testing and he tells me they are keeping me overnight for observation and we will do an MRI in the morning.  i get jeremy, tell him the news, and we make a plan for him to go home and get some rest and come back for me in the morning.  he heads home about 2:30 am.  i'm feeling like this is all pretty dumb, because i feel fine now.  but i wait some more and text my boss to tell her i'm still in the hospital and being admitted for the night. (she asked me to update her and she didn't respond, so luckily she was asleep.)

and here's tired and angry katie at 2:30 am:

i get transferred to a room, and get tucked into bed by a lovely nurse assistant at about 4:00 am and i am trying to be as nice as i can to put myself in a more pleasant mood.  good thing i wore comfy slacks and a sweater to work that day and not a skirt, because i just slept in my clothes.  the nurse comes in at 5:15 to ask me tons of questions and all i really want to do is sleep.  after 30 minutes, she has the answers she needs and leaves me in the dark to get some rest.

i woke up at about 6:50 listening to people in the hall. shortly after i met my new nurses and nurse assistant and got plans for the day - get an MRI, meet with the neurologist.  at 8:00 am they brought me a delicious gluten-free breakfast which included an Udi blueberry muffin that was just amazing, rice chex, oj, eggs, and milk.  the lady across the hall wasn't so lucky.  she kept asking where her breakfast was while i devoured mine (don't worry she couldn't see me... i could just hear how hungry she was).  gluten-free has it's perks, when it gets you served first and with a hot plate!

at about 9:00 am they stuck me with an IV needle (that subsequently never got an IV, thank you very much for that pain) and wheeled me down to get an MRI.  jeremy arrived right as i was going in and had to wait 45 minutes before i was done to see me.  i listened to the radio and practiced my deep breathing during the MRI and found the experience to be pretty relaxing.

after the MRI, i finally got to see jeremy, it's almost 10:00 at this point.  they took me to another observation place, but didn't have a room for me, so i was in the hall.  which i was fine with.  if i get a room they might forget about me or let me sit tight for longer than i want.  i chat and laugh with jeremy while we wait for the neurologist to come and tell us the results of the MRI. 

the neurologist comes carrying his little doctor case which is adorable.  he says they are all great and that it is indeed a complex migraine.  (i know, doc, i know.)  he was helpful though and gave me some tips to differentiate a complex migraine from stroke.  now i have a better idea of what to look for, so that was really helpful.  he said that i might end up coming to the ER every time i experience one to appease the people around me since it can be pretty scary, which i can totally see happening.

he left us around 11:00 i would say.  we chatted it up with the nurses since my bed was right next to them.  one nurse was a pretty big fan of ours.  she said we had a special aura and she could totally picture us laughing together in our old age.  (how cute!)  and we waited some more, chatted, laughed, made phone calls, and texted family with updates.  we waited for a couple more docs to come check me out and then we were finally free to go at 12:30.

and that my friends, is how we spent jeremy's birthday eve and birthday morning.

we both got the rest of the day off of work and school so we headed home, took naps - because we were so exhausted!, went to a movie, opened presents, went out to eat, and ate cake.   it was fun to have the day together, as unexpected as it was.  


Barbara Creer said...

Loved the commentary!! Nice to relive it now that it is all over and we know all is well. xoxox

CrafteeCass said...

Glad you included all the details because that was a scary time! Just curious, what are some of the differences between a complex migraine and a stroke that the doc told you? Happy you're okay!!!

Monique said...

Katie! I totally get those too!!! Would you mind sharing the advice the Dr gave you to differentiate between the two? Because I know when it's a migraine but you're right, it's scary for people around you. I haven't had one since I've been married, but my husband is scared to death for when I do, so I'm thinking that the Dr's advice will maybe help him know what to do and feel more at ease about it all when the symptoms start to happen.

Katie said...

The doctor said that if the symptoms come on gradually (numbness, then vision, then speech over a course of 20 minutes for me) then it's a migraine. For strokes, all symptoms happen at the same time. Also I had a slight headache at the beginning which became more intense as my symptoms progressed, if it was a stroke I wouldn't have a headache at all. And the last tip for differentiating the two deals with the numbness. For me, my arm felt numb, but I still had control over it. My face felt numb, but it wasn't droopy. With a stroke, you lose all control, you can't move your arm or half your face, instead of it feeling numb. That's all I know... hope it helps!