Taking Life One Day at a Time

January 11, 2012

on January 25, 2012

Hello again everyone! 🙂

How has your week been and what have you been up to? Hope it hasn’t been too tedious or too stressful of a week. Don’t sweat it too much, it is Wednesday which reminds me – Happy Hump Day!

What might be a Wednesday for you is actually a Monday for me. That’s right you read correctly, that means I’m just now going back to work from the weekend. But don’t be too envious because my reason involves EMT’s and an ambulance…It actually all started about 6 months ago but this past Sunday was a scare and a first for me. For my loyal readers, you probably recall about my little summer injury last year, but for all you new readers allow me to bring you up to speed…

It all began with a bunk bed at a lake house on July 10th, 2011 for a Retreat. Apparently, I don’t have as hard a head as I thought because I hit my head on the frontal lobe and right parietal lobe area (was told this after recent MRI body scan). For everyone who knows me, they know I’m a quick and deep sleeper however something startled me awake in the wee hours and I hit myself hard enough that I was knocked out, unconscious until Marcelo woke me up for our planned run that morning. Things were still hazy and fuzzy for me that I thought it was just a dream, even though I had a huge headache when I woke up. Yes I know not smart on my behalf to have gone running with Marcelo anyway, but I didn’t think anything of it at the time since again I thought it was a dream and my headache was gone 5 minutes into our run. However the headache came back full force during breakfast time at the retreat. I wrote it off as nothing after two Advil’s and some water. That same evening at home though symptoms weren’t as mediocre…drove myself to work the following day (since the 10th was a Sunday) and noticed more visible symptoms that alerted me to something being wrong. ER trip was in order, where I was told I had a severe concussion. No internal bleeding or anything found in my blood work or CATscan (thank God). After being released it was the worst two weeks let me tell you! I’ve had migraines and have heard of other people’s colossal headaches but nothing compares to having your head feel like it’s going to explode and leave you unable to function at all. Loss of appetite as in I didn’t want to eat anything (which was a huge red flag for me), moody beyond belief, memory loss, couldn’t recall even the smallest of details, retain information, forgot how to write, always sleepy, and the worst one was always feeling caged. The feeling caged symptom is not only indescribable but a horrible feeling, almost animal like to where you can’t stay inside and it can get to the point of driving you insane. Things were slow after that.

After the two weeks I’d had my follow up, to only to be told that every person’s recovery after a severe concussion varies so it could be quick as in only a few days to even a year or more. I finally went back to work and thankfully they were and have been very understanding through this whole process. On top of that my professor’s and academic counselor at the college were helping me with everything since I was not only behind in school work but I wasn’t able to retain any information from my studies…I’m glad THAT summer semester is over! Things have been a spiral ever since.

I was under “observation” but told to take as many Advil as needed to relieve my head pain (because doctor’s even said it wasn’t a headache but inflammation due to the concussion, that was causing the head pain) and to keep an eye on my symptoms. Retention wasn’t possible, reading was a struggle, writing wasn’t easy, sleeping was getting worse to the point where I wasn’t getting any. Head pains went from an ongoing all day occurrences to only when I strained my mind to actually doing work, which was most to all of the time. Fall semester was about to start but I was given doctor’s orders not to attend, which I have to admit was pretty cool It’s not every day you’re told to take a semester off school because of doctor’s orders! I was finally able to pick up on my physical activities (meaning working out, punching bag, etc). This all went on until my symptoms changed mid-September.

I started waking up with bite marks on the inside of my cheek and mouth along with bruises on my body; that along with my abnormal restless nights aren’t good signs. I was losing feeling in my arms and legs with a tingling sensation that’s also hard to describe. The doctor calls them “episodes” but I didn’t know what these occurrences meant at the time. I’d had a total of 6 “severe episodes” (4 at home but 2 while driving) and various minor episodes by the time I saw the Neurologist in December. My neuro isn’t sure if I’m having seizures but he says that’s what we’re going to find out. So I’m not to drink alcohol nor drive until he instructs me otherwise. I’ve been undergoing tests and have been under continual observation since, until the little adventure of an ambulance ride on the 8th. All my blood work has been negative and my MRI shows “no abnormalities” (thank God) however my neuro is to go more in depth with my results on February 3rd. The good thing is I’m now able to retain information and long term memory isn’t 100% but maybe 89%, bad thing is my short term/working memory is giving me problems. The smallest and stupidest things I can’t seem to recall now.

The 911 occurrence that happened this past Sunday however, was something completely different, or at least that’s what my doctors are trying to find out. You might have noticed that this post has a tag of “Adventure” because for me it was my first adventure to be carted into an ambulance and taken to the hospital in an ambulance. That night was really something for me…odd symptoms started the night before but took an awful toll while I sat in mass. I was already having trouble breathing and trying to calm my heart beat/pulse while paying attention to mass but no such luck. Then I started to think to myself, if I have to go anywhere (meaning the hospital or CareNow) I might as well make sure to follow through with the entire mass before I go anywhere. Those were my thoughts but I couldn’t stand the pressure, numbness, and slight pain during the time that communion was about to be offered. So when everyone sat down I took advantage (since I wasn’t going to take communion from getting as upset as I got the night before,Saturday) and walked to the bathroom. But I immediately took some water instead and my mother ushered me into the “Bridal Room” by the restrooms. I tried to keep calm especially since my mother was now with me, but I didn’t want to panic even though I was feeling the urge to let everything go. We checked my blood pressure which was 196/110/96 and I knew that my mother was going to want me to go to the ER. Actually her words were, “mijita what do you want to do? We either go to the ER or I call for the ambulance.” Well to ease myself as well as give me a sense of security because I was internally freaking out with how bad I was really feeling, I told her to find a fellow volunteer in the parish, who works as a nurse. Seeing my mom leave to find her though gave me the moment I needed to break down a little, still feeling like my heart was going to pop out of my chest! My mom came back and that’s when the worst pain hit me all on my arm and chest. Yup it was time to call 911, I couldn’t do anything else.

I don’t remember much from the time I left the Bridal Room to the moment I entered the ambulance, all I know is that I was staying focused on the paramedics. I heard when the ambulance sirens got to the church but I didn’t pay attention to their entrance into the room, until I caught eyes with two of them. This is where I literally wanted to either slap myself silly or kick myself, because I forced myself to do a mental check of “clean sock, underwear, and bra.” Then it was I did but deodorant and perfume on before I left the house right? That’s right the lady tom-boy had a very girly moment! I shook my head to snap myself out of it but I think the EMTs thought it was to try and focus. I was being talked to from every which way and I literally panicked when I heard that to different EMTs were checking my blood pressure and finding it odd to have it so high, too high especially for someone so young, or at least the youngest in their high blood pressure level cases. It was affirmed that I had to be taken in because my levels were too high. Here’s where I was sort of coherent about not being needy or wanting help because I was trying to control myself so that I didn’t anyone to help me up and into the ambulance bed, then I was smacked with dizziness so I had to be held. So much for being strong!

By this time I was so hot it was ridiculous but once we were outside I was hit with the nice cold outside temperature and I felt so much better. Granted my pains, heart,  and head were bugging the hell out of me but it just felt oh so good! Finally placed into the ambulance and I started to get worked on. An IV was placed in, which was funny at the time because they could find my veins and weren’t able to get the needle inside my vein. The main paramedic (who I can’t remember his name for the life of me! but I know I saw no rings and he has a little girl) was able to find my vein to place the IV and then started to get everyone else out so we could start moving. But how he found the vein was funny, because he was carefully rolling up my sleeve but I was getting agitated and cold that I just told him to tear the shirt, so he was nice enough that he grabbed the scissors instead of ripping, and cut along the seam so that if I wanted to I’d be able to just sow it back up. We finally started on our way to the hospital and the main paramedic started an EKG on me. He was able to calm me even though I wasn’t feeling good and he wouldn’t let me go to sleep! But he also brought out the argumentative or the sarcastic witty side. It was an interesting ride.

Arrived to the hospital and I was put in the same room that started it all, the same patient room that I was diagnosed with having a concussion back in July of last year. Ironic and upsetting all together because of the nurse, Amber. Let me just say that I’ve never wanted to take someone out so much as I wanted to her! And a lot of people are witness to that! Not only was she not attentive but she was one bitch of a nurse, I don’t care if she was having a bad day, that doesn’t justify injecting a high dosage of meds that are to be dripped into the IV instead of quickly inserted into the blood stream. You know what I’m not even going to get into the whole hospital experience that night because I was not only feeling like crap but I was pissed as hell and wanted to make it known to Amber. Anyway, needless to say the meds didn’t do me any good – all she succeeded in doing was making me loopy, pissed, and more in pain. I felt like my heart was not only going to pop out of my chest but I felt like my head was literally just going to roll of my body and my body felt like I’d just gotten off 10 rides of the Mr. Freeze, Batman, and Superman rides at Six Flags…times 20! UGH, still makes me upset thinking about it! And the hospital still released me with my blood pressure still abnormally high for my age.

So here’s a question to any of my reader’s who work at a hospital or just in general to anyone who knows: what are the rules for admitting someone with high blood pressure or admitting someone into the hospital?

Yours truly,

Donna Unica

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