Saturday, November 3, 2007

Never a dull moment

Warning: long post with absolutely no redeeming knitting or spinning content and only marginal photos.

ETA: This event did not happen last week, it actually happened back in September on the Saturday before I had my surgery. I wrote the entire blog post up a few days later and was going to post it the following Saturday and then something came up and I didn’t get around to. And the same the following Saturday and blah, blah, blah – insert same old story about my constant disorganization and not getting things done on time.

At any rate, for some reason I never got around to posting it in a reasonable time. Since I didn’t have the post that I wanted for today done I’m posting this now. It’s long and probably interesting only to myself so feel free to skip it and wait for something fiberish if you want.

Did you ever have one of those days that just didn’t quite go according to plan?

Last Saturday was one of those days here at Casa del Chaos.

It started out pretty much like any other Saturday morning with Mr. CPA and I chatting over a leisurely cup of coffee and then off to the gym for a workout. After our return I hurried through some quick chores so I could be ready when Holly arrived to drive down to Scappoose with me to visit one of our favorite purveyors of yarny goodness.

And it was right about here that my morning derailed and careened off in a totally different direction than planned

As I was cleaning the kitchen I suddenly felt funny and noticed the oddest feeling of pressure in and around my right eye. My eye started watering a bit and seemed decidedly ‘not right’ for lack of a better description. Then my vision went wonky and I felt really disoriented.

I sat down at the dining room table just as Mr. CPA came back in the room. By now the right half of my face was numb and I was getting quite dizzy. Mr. CPA wanted to call 911 but I persuaded him to wait because I didn’t think it was anything serious – I just wanted to lie down for a few moments, I guess because I was convinced this would make everything better.

On my way to the sofa, however, I got a really sudden and painful headache. Much like someone had impaled my head with a wooden stake. Since I was now having trouble talking and was too dizzy to stand up, I was decisively over-ruled on the whole 911 phone call decision issue.

I remember noticing that the right half of my throat was numb when I tried to swallow and that my right arm had started to shake uncontrollably.

This is when I started getting pretty scared.

Because even though my brain is not exactly exceptional or genius-like in any way, I’ve grown rather fond of it over the years and enjoy having it around such as it is. So the possibility of losing it or having to get used to a new and perhaps significantly less useful brain was not exactly appealing to me.

The fire department and paramedics arrived very quickly, probably less than 3 minutes after my husband called though it seemed like much longer at the time. They put the oxygen on me and did the whole assessment and vitals process while asking both me and Mr. CPA lots of questions.

I lost track of time with all of this activity going on around me but at some point during all of this commotion the feeling started coming back into my face and I began to feel a little better. I still had a really bad headache and I had a funny black ‘hole’ in the vision in my right eye but other than that I felt pretty much like myself again.

The paramedics offered to transport me to the ER but I declined. I felt much better and I was more than a little embarrassed at all the fuss I’d caused, so I asked if Mr. CPA could drive me to Group Health’s urgent care office instead. After the paramedics got approval via phone from the supervising ER doctor we were cleared to transport ourselves.

I kept apologizing to the various firefighters and paramedics milling about my living room for having brought them out for nothing. They insisted that calling was the exact right thing to do and this is the precisely sort of outcome they are happy to see (even though Mr. CPA thought they looked just the teensiest bit crestfallen that there wasn’t just a little bit more important emergency medical stuff for them to do at the scene).

So on to the urgent care at Group Health to do the required follow-up. Thankfully, due in no small part to the gorgeous weather outside that day, I’m sure, there were only two other people waiting to be seen and we got in quickly.

By now, except for the residual dull, thumping headache on the right side of my skull I felt fine and really just wanted to go home but Mr. CPA would have none of that.

Instead of the usual exam room, I was put in the big ER-like room complete with heart and oxygen monitors and I was all hooked up to lots of equipment while I waited to be seen by the doctor. Oy.

(note to self: the next time you're planning a minor medical emergency,
maybe put a little makeup on and fix your hair up first!)

So, what was the cause of all this fuss? A migraine for heaven’s sake. A really sudden, intense and scary migraine, but just a migraine. (I think the doctor referred to it as an ‘atypical’ migraine)

(I used to get frequent ‘classic’ and occasional ‘ocular’ migraines, however one of the benefits of becoming a ‘woman of a certain age’ is that the hormonal changes responsible for a host of petty irritations and complaints also seem to significantly reduce the incidents of migraine headaches - for me anyway, YMMV of course)

So the doctor recommended that I take some Excedrin but since I wasn’t able to have any aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs pre-surgery he recommended Tylenol and some coffee instead.

Later, as we were leaving to return home I turned to Mr. CPA and said,

“So you realize what this means don’t you??

I have a prescription.

For coffee.

From a doctor!”

My new pharmacy*

Prescription strength Starbucks!

What I learned from this experience:

  1. You should definitely call 911 if you experience any sudden stroke-like symptoms even if you suspect that your husband is over-reacting.

  2. According to the ER doctor, I have none of the risk factors for stroke. (hooray!)

  3. My cholesterol is excellent and actually better than the extraordinarily fit ER doctor with the runner’s physique (who looked slightly dismayed that the plumpish, unfit middle-aged woman before him had beaten his previously undefeated record).

  4. You will not actually die of embarrassment when a small army of emergency personnel unexpectedly invaded your very messy house (in spite of what your neurotically tidy Norwegian grandmother would have you think).

PS – Holly and I still managed to make the trip down to Scappoose even though we got there slightly later than planned.

* This is not actually my local Starbucks. This photo was shamelessly stolen from the internets. I wanted to take a photo of my actual regular Starbucks staff but felt this was a bit much even for me. They already think I'm weird enough.


Sheepish Annie said...

Good heavens! That must have been pretty scary...I'm glad that all was well and that a prescription for coffee was all you walked away with. It certainly makes for interesting blog posting!

Don't do that again, though. It might makes for an interesting blog post and all. But don't do it again. Too scary!

janel said...

Oh my, that's a pretty scary event! Kudos to your husband for calling 911, it could have been something much worse, and stroke victims often don't want all the "fuss" and don't get medical attention right away which could save their brain cells and/or life!

I'm so glad you're ok, and gee whiz! I wish I could get a prescription for coffee! I sometimes get migraines and Excedrin is my drug of choice when I feel one coming on... that little caffeine jolt can work wonders.

Cindy/Snid said...

Wow! I am very glad that you are okay and it wasn't anything more serious. We are so fortunate in this country to have such quick responding medical assistance!

As for the coffee, awesome! I knew it must be good for you!

marti said...

i'm glad you are okay too. i wonder if that means that you can use your starbucks prescription as a medical expense?

annmarie said...

You can bet I read this post all the way to the end! I'm glad everything turned out okay for you!

Kerry said...

I am so glad Mr. CPA is sensible, since obviously you have a ways to go in the tending to Denise department. Yeah, calling 911 is the thing to do when you can't stand up or, you know, see. I'm so glad this has a happy ending - I like your brain, too.

And nobody has mentioned the obvious - that this happened right after EXERCISING. I think this event should be your ticket out of that whole nightmare!

Mrs. G. said...

Does your insurance cover mocha lattes? I am so glad it was just a headache. And I fully support Mr. CPA in his calling 911. He loves you.

Vallen said...

Oh, that's not the way you want to start a weekend - no, no no. My mom was as reluctant as you were to have us call the paramedics - but she does remember them being pretty darn cute!!!

Sheila E said...

I must say that I am glad that you waited to post this....scary stuff!!
Thankfully you are well and unscathed from all of that!!
I had No idea that a migraine could cause such bazaar symptoms!!
I,too read it all the way to the fortunate end!
Take care of yourself, you are an important member of this life!!

Naomi said...

I was really freaking out here. Then as I read further I was like - "I know exactly what this is - a migraine". I am afflicted by migraines - I recognized them right away.

I'm sorry you have started to have them!

Like you said, it is always a good idea to call 911 just to be sure!

I'm glad you could still take your trip!!!

Mysti said...

Tell 'em to just hook you up to a caffeine drip and send the bill to the insurance company. {wink}

Glad you are well! That's what matters most.. Oh, and kudo's to Mr. CPA for being on top of it.

Melanie said...

Wowza, what a scary story! I'm glad that you and your brain are still united and that Mr. CPA had the uncommon good sense to call 911.

And you still got your road trip to go with your coffee.

Kris said...

Oh my gosh, yes I read the post. So sorry to hear about the migrane problems but am glad to hear it wasn't more serious. That's funny the Dr. prescribed coffee.

LisaK said...

I'm glad it was "just a migraine". Very scary though. I get these kind of migraines a couple of times a year. I had the first one when I was pregnant - very scary.

My oldest daughter also gets them infrequently.

Firemen are often very nice to look at ;-P