I was standing in the kitchen, last Sunday, trimming a roast when I felt this extreme rush of pressure start at my collar bone and surround my whole head. I immediately dropped my knife and looked at Matt and started to rub my head all over . . . with my raw meat-covered hands. He was screamin "what's wrong!?" as I panicked and ran to lie down on the couch, trying to simultaneously describe what was suddenly happening.
As a "student of neuroscience" my first thought was aneurysm. It felt like it had started in my carotid artery and in my mind I was tracing the blood supply to the different areas of my brain, wondering what was going wrong. Would I make it? I started to cry, and told Matt I was afraid, if it was an aneurysm--or anything horrible for that matter--I had had my warning, and if it came back, I may not live!
So hello, ER . . . with three kids. Because everything in my life as I know it is hello ______ . . . with three kids.
I got checked in, and triaged, described my symptoms, had a cozy bed in the hallway where I could witness all the goings-on of the emergency room, and tried to keep my eyes closed a lot because there was a 70 year old man, not far from me, who obviously did not care that I could see everything is his mama had once given him. Also, I'm not good with blood and guts and I was super scared I'd see some of that, too. eesh.
So, I was hovered in my bed, scared of blood and guts, scared of the old man parts and scared of dying. Matt was in the waiting rooms . . . with three kids.
The Physician's Assistant asked me all sorts of questions, told me if it was an aneurysm to get ready to be shipped off and then sent me away for a CT scan. I was shaking and crying and totally dramatic with all the "I don't want to die. I cannot die." And she was equally dramatic with the "You will not die on my shift!" It was straight up TV . . . only nobody was hot. We were what real hospitals look like . . . tired, sick, overworked ... Old Man Naked, over there, eating a bag of potato chips.
In the background, I heard the head doc screaming at the PA saying "This is a problem! This is big problem! She has a history of migraines, now she's having pressure, the worst headache of her life, not in the same places . . . call Tampa General and have them on standby. This girl needs a spinal." --- that's the perk of the hallway bed. You hear the stuff you aren't meant to.
CT scan came back negative for all things really really bad: aneurysm, brain tumor. However, it did show a massive sinus infection in every sinus cavity in my face. Pan sinusitis.
And then came the doctor.
"Okay, so now that I've thoroughly freaked you out, I need to do a spinal tap. It's the only way to rule out the aneurysm. I'm thinking that's not it, but you're 34, and you have three kids out there and I can't go home and sleep without knowing you aren't going to a) die or b) have severe lifelong disabilities."
And so I had the spinal tap.
And let me just say (now that I know I'm not dying or becoming imminently disabled) that it was the coolest thing ever to see my own cerebrospinal fluid and my own brain scans and read my own reports about my own brain and its sulci and its dura mater and its arachnoid layer. I was like a little nerdy girl on a field trip.
Once I was given the all clear and being released, they were hooking me up with steroids and things and I just had to ask "um, can I have a copy of my brain scan?"
And the PA just laughed and said "I'll get ya a copy. Then you need to email your professor and tell her you have an A. Move on to the next class."
So that was that.
Only, not quite. Because the next morning, Matt came down with something awful that landed him in bed for the day and Michael came down with a 103 temp that stuck around for the remainder of the week, and I was so fed up with illness that I spent 13 hours bleaching every hard surface, and boiling everything else. Which ultimately led to my coming down with something called a spinal headache, which is like a headache meant for a giant ogre that finds its way into the head of a normal person and then grows 14 sizes. And when you lie down, it completely goes away. So for the next four days I just stayed on the couch and read my neuro book, and had Matt set me up with a desk and computer and I just sat there and watched hulu, and took my quiz and did my homework and blogged a ton of old stuff. And this week we are normal.
But this is not.
And I'm thinking I could use a good excuse like a spinal headache, to convince Matt we could use a laundry service lady or something . . . just for a day or two of course. Otherwise, I may really stroke out.