Saturday, June 21, 2008

Never-ending health emergencies

Oh, goody, a new health problem for me!! Migraine. Never even really had a headache before (seriously) and today it was the full-on deal. Juuuuust great.

Yeah, so I ended up at Emergency this afternoon. I was just sitting at home calmly doing my thing when all of a sudden my vision was basically gone on one started as a quarter-sized bit of completely clouded, swirling, semi-flashing vision (frankly quite psychedelic). I couldn't see through it. Within fifteen minutes, it had grown to half my field of vision and my face was starting to go numb on that side. I was beside myself, thinking I was having a stroke or something. I walked (!) to the hospital - by this time the vision thing had mostly gone away but I felt totally "off" in the top of my head. While I was being registered at Emerg, I couldn't really talk properly...I couldn't identify words, was getting them mixed up, etc. Ugh. This made me cry, and I was there alone, struggling to understand how to work my calling card (my thinking also appeared to be messed up), calling R in Home City and M in Fun City...(Before I left for the hospital I was trying to call R because I was so freaked out, and I coudn't get her. So I phoned M and asked him to try to get hold of her to let her know.) So there I was in Emergency, talking like a madwoman, leaving another garbled message on R's machine, and then absolutely bawling, with more nonsensical talking, to M.

By the time I got in to be examined, the talking was restored. Just the pain set in - and got worse as I waited. So yeah, migraine - the doctor was basically sure of it...he was good, and explained to me in detail the way that things would have played out if it were a tumour or a stroke (of course I was paranoid). Then he also said to go home and google it...Indeed, it is a total textbook case of migraine with aura - what with the vision, the numbness, and the speech, followed by pain. I was given the tylenol/aspirin combo and came home and slept for a while. I feel better now - still some pain and sensitivity, but it's pretty minor.

What I didn't like (well, who am I kidding, I didn't like any of it) was the feeling that the people I wanted to talk to and have there with me were so very, very far away. The one friend here that I really would have liked to call was away. My downstairs neighbour, with whom I've been becoming friendly, wasn't answering her door. It just sucked to be so scared and to feel alone. Yeah, I should have thought of migraine, but I didn't. So I was scared.

Honestly! I don't know what I did in a past life - and why I'm waiting until my thirties to pay for it - but it sure seems like I'm being made to pay for something, what with the last year - and especially the last six months! Good grief.


New Kid on the Hallway said...

Ugh, I'm so sorry about your migraine, but I really wanted to respond to your last bit, about feeling like everyone was very far away: yes! I know how that feels! When I had my 2nd gallstone attack last week, NLLDH was out of town (in your fair country!), and the only people I know here are NLLDH's colleagues from work, and my dept chair (who is very nice but not what I'd call an intimate). It really is an awful feeling!

What Now? said...

Oh, poor Hilaire! I've never had a migraine, but this sounds just horrible; no wonder you were scared as well as in pain. And loneliness on top of it -- what an awful day for you.

Brigindo said...

Of course you didn't think of migraine if you've never even had a headache.

It must be a horrible feeling to have no one around when going through it all. Very scary. I'm sorry you went through all of that.

I started getting migraines in my 30s and they are directly related to my cycle. Unfortunately they continue and get worse as I get older (never had the aura though). I've been told they will probably end with menopause.

If you continue to get them I suggest getting something stronger than tylenol/aspirin - which does nothing for me. Imitrex works fairly well.

Maggie said...

What an awful thing to have happen! You poor girl... my husband gets migraines (with aura, too) and it is wretched.

I think what you describe is the scariest part of moving to a new place... almost like being in a foreign country where one doesn't speak the language. Scary.

I hope you're feeling better.

heu mihi said...

Oh, that's terrible! I'm so sorry. But glad, too, that it was just a migraine (I mean, not to diminish it, but I would've been paranoid and thinking Cancer! Stroke!, too).

If it's any small consolation, I had a horrible migraine two summers ago--it felt like my head was being squeezed through a series of tight iron bands; I couldn't move my eyes without excruciating pain, I threw up repeatedly, etc. And it lasted for 16 hours. Once it was over, my main fear was that this would become a normal part of my life--but I haven't had one since (and it's been almost 2 years). So here's hoping that yours was an isolated incident!

Belle said...

Oh Hilaire, how awful! I'd have been thinking stroke, tumor, horrible things too. The being alone in that kind of situation only makes it worse and even more lingering (speaking from experience). I hope you're feeling better; I'd make sure I had working drugs on hand just in case (tylenol has never worked for me) and line up that neighbor... just in case.

((((((Hilaire))))))) as long as it doesn't hurt. Or make you feel more isolated.

medieval woman said...

Oh, Hilaire, I'm so sorry you had to go through that scary, painful situation alone. I'm sure the fear and disorientation made everything worse. I have had a couple of migraines (although mine are without aura) and they are absolutely horrible. Did the doc give you any meds for if it happens again??

Thinking about you lots...

Psych Post Doc said...

I'm so sorry. I've suffered from migraines about 10 years now. I have a prescription that I can take as soon as I feel it coming on.

I have a little bit of a panic attack every time I feel one coming on. They really suck.

I'm glad you're feeling better now, and I'm so sorry you had to go through this alone.

K said...

What a horrible experience for you. I'm so sorry. There are lots of treatment options, though--I hope you and your doctor find a good one for you.

Hilaire said...

Hi, all - It's great to hear of some of your experiences with this.

And Heu Mihi - That's exactly what I said - "Huzzah! A migraine!!" I was very pleased that I was not going to imminently turn into vegetable or go blind...

Also, Heu Mihi - thank you for telling me about only having had one...that's exactly what I'm hoping for.

Brigindo - On hormones: Yeah, I read about the hormone connection. I am currently being tested for hormonal disturbances (that's the new GYN problem I mentioned the other day), so perhaps if I do have them, the migraine is a result of that...Good fun, good fun.

Brigindo and Belle and PsychPostDoc and K and others who mentioned drugs...he certainly talked to me about the drugs that do exist, but said that they'd see what happened with the aspirin/tylenol combo first. He said that the hospital didn't keep on hand the most common drugs, otherwise they might just give me one to try. If this turns out to be a regular occurrence, I can go to the doctor and get some of the proper meds. He kept on telling me how expensive the meds are. It doesn't matter to me - I'm lucky to have prescription drug benefits, and if this is going to be a recurring thing, I'll definitely go to get some of these drugs.

NK - That's awful!!! Your gall bladder all alone! now *that's* stressful. You poor thing.

Yeah...the being alone thing...I've been thinking about that. Because I *do* have friends here...but you know how you're not comfortable putting this out there to just anybody...It was interesting to see who just didn't strike me as a possibility to contact. And really too bad that the three people I did try weren't available. I did ask my neighbour to go to the drugstore with me last night, when I started to feel worse again...I didn't feel like going out alone. She was great - turns out she gets migraines, too.

Also, what I didn't mention is that as I was leaving for the hospital, I called the friends I was supposed to be going out with last evening, to let them know not to pick me up. Later, while I was behind the curtain in emerg, one of them came to see me, to check on me, and see if I needed anything. And she drove me home. That was nice. :)

Sarah Williams said...

I hear that it's all about Imitrex.

Hope you're feeling better.

Bardiac said...


I hope it goes away and stays away!

The feeling alone thing is scary. I'm sorry you had to go through it.

Thoroughly Educated said...

Eek! That does sound incredibly scary. All this getting sick far from one's support networks is driving home to me that, as long as I'm living away from Home City, I've got to figure out who my Emergency Friends are and get them in my speed dial. Fingers crossed for no more migraines!

dbm/gaa said...

Oh migraines, yuck. I get them too and they knock me flat for at least 12 hours, I don't get the aura/blindness thing though that must've been terrifying! Poor you. It could be isolated so try not to worry too much, and if you get them regularly you just learn how to cope.

JustMe said...

oh so sorry hilaire! hugs!! and sorry you had to go through that alone. that is crazy -- i knew there were migraines with aura, but i didn't realize speech was involved as well.

Sfrajett said...

Hope you feel better soon! We are thinking about you.