A somewhat big scare

About two weeks ago, I gave my FB friends (and my close ones) a big scare.

First thing I remember from that night? Seeing the paramedics in my room and wondering what the hell was going on.

Last thing I remember before seeing the paramedics, was taking my medication and going to bed.

I am confused, disoriented, scared and my head is about to explode.

Next thing I know, I am in an ambulance, being taken to the hospital.

I try to explain what I know. That my head hurts, that I have a big bump on the back of my head and that it feels squishy. That I don’t remember anything. That I am very confused.

Talk, talk, talk. Waiting. Dunno how much time passed but I am in a hospital bed. Then I am taken to radiology for a CT scan.

Get an IV line. More waiting. But at least I am given pain medication.

IV line

Then finally a doctor comes, asks a bunch of leading questions, looks for meningitis signs, looks at the CT scan and is very happy to report that all I have is a tensional headache and that I can go home now.

Um, doctor? – I say, feeling less confused, inner doctor kicking in, I blacked out. I have a big bump on the back of my head.  That means I fell and hit my head. I lost consciousness. When I woke up, I was disoriented and I have no memories of a considerable length of time. I think I have a concussion. No, he says. The CT scan is clear. You have a tensional headache. I’ll tell the nurse to unplug you so you can go home. Good night. Not even a “take some Tylenol for the pain”. Certainly not a “come back if you start feeling ____”

It is dawn now. I realize I have no money, no coat and I am alone (I had sent my daughter home cause she had had a really busy day and was exhausted. It took a lot of convincing -had to play the mother card, but she finally gave in)

Rewind to the night before.

At some point, I posted three status updates* in a row, one more scary than the previous one (none of which I recall writing at all) saying something like this:

Status # 1: I think I am having a stroke…

Status # 2: I need my daughter. Where is she? Can somebody tell her to come home?

Status # 3: Help!

Back to the morning. I decide I will try my luck and post something on FB about a ride. Luckily, a friend was fee and willing and she came, picked me up and took me home. I am forever grateful.

Now I am home. And the thinking begins. I talk to some of my Colombian colleagues later on that day, a few theories are thrown around.

four days later I go to see my doctor.  I give him a note from the hospital and he says, Oh yeah, you had a concussion. Looks like you fell and hit your head? I say, how do you know?

He says, they sent me a copy of the CT scan. You have a hematoma.

And I am like, WTF?!!! So I say, the CT scan shows that? He says yes, they didn’t tell you? I said no, all they said was that I had a tensional headache. He’s looking at me, obviously torn between not wanting to make his colleague look bad but knowing that a tensional headache was not what I had.

I tell him the whole story. We agree that OBVIOUSLY my head is hurting because I hit it hard, so hard that it cause a hematoma, which is shown in the scan!

We look at theories. We come up with the same things my friend and I had discussed. We narrowed it down to two hypothesis.

1. A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) a.k.a mini-stroke or warning stroke

2. A migraine with an aura that mimics a stroke

We think things went down like this. I took my meds and fell asleep. At some point, I woke up and knew something was wrong. Asked for help on FB then for whatever reason decided to get up. Lost consciousness, fell, hit my head (alternatively, that I fell first and lost consciousness because of the banging of the head). Which one, we will never know.

My doctor believes that if I said on FB that I was having a stroke then I was having what felt like a stroke (either TIA or aura) because, you know, I am a doctor and stuff.

Both hypothesis are possible. However, I am more inclined to believe it was a TIA for the following reason. I have had migraines all my life. I know my aura very well. It starts with the tip of my nose going numb. Then I start seeing little flashes of light -phosphenus, which is quickly followed by photophobia and vomiting. It is possible that I don’t remember having the first three due to the concussion but it is really hard to miss the vomit. There would be there in plain sight. I never did vomit, not at home, not at the hospital.

The truth is that we will never know what actually happened. But right now, TIA looks like the most probably culprit.

So that’s that.



I am doing ok now. Everything from that night is still blurry with big holes – memory-wise. The hematoma is mostly gone but the area is still tender.
Many thanks to all of you who have me on Facebook (particularly to lovely SaraDraws. You rock. But you knew that already) for all your concern, help and get-well wishes.

I am sorry I scared you. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.


* Incidentally, I can’t find those statuses anymore. I don’t remember deleting them either

34 thoughts on “A somewhat big scare

  1. DeeDee says:

    So glad you’re doing better – take care of yourself! I’m also glad you were able to get help. But mad at that ER doctor for not telling you the truth or really taking proper care.

  2. Lunch Sketch says:

    I blame FB.
    With all due respect to your doctor and the hospital … did they consider the possibility of FB. You know yourself from comments on previous posts how evil it can be ;-)
    It is possible you were Poked without notification and this could have caused the fall. The disappearing status updates also add to my diagnosis that somehow FB was involved …

  3. Lunch Sketch says:

    But on a serious note. Take care SSG … hope you are getting some rest and plenty of TLC from those around you.
    BTW. The hospital doc sounds like a real dummy. I’m sure it was confusing enough for you at the time without having that sort of level of care.

  4. Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA says:

    Oh I am so sorry that happened to you. Has happened to me twice–thing to add to differential diagnosis is seizure. That’s what I think happened to me the first time I awoke on the cold stone floor (everything in Jerusalem is stone) with the worst headache of my life, hearing someone groaning (it was me). Someone took me to ER the next day and they were worse than useless, so next time it happened (August 7 of this year) I just wobbled home and stayed in bed for a few weeks. I hope your recovery is smooth and seamless, and I fervently hope this never happens again, either to you or to me!!!

  5. purplemary54 says:

    Oh, dear! No wonder you haven’t been blogging for a while. ((Hugs)) I’m glad you’re feeling a bit better, Claudia, but I’d feel better if you went in for a full workup. A warning stroke is just that, a warning. I don’t want anything else to happen to you.

  6. Ruby Tuesday says:

    Honey. So much love. I wish I could do better for you, but I’m glad you are okay — well, you know, okay speaking in very relative terms — and that your doctor is not one who chooses to protect a negligent colleague. And for you being so smart and tenacious.

    Really just grateful for you, and that you are you, even if we’ve both been stuck in various goo that has kept us out of touch lately.

    • Ruby Tuesday says:

      Also, lovely Claudia, if you can find it in you to go on the Canvas fb page, Mel of scienerf has left you an incredibly lovely note where I shared this post through Twitter. I’ll see if I can leave the link. . . Okay, apparently I’m not smart in that way, or it just cannot be done, but if you can find it, she’s such a wonderful person (you would love her if you haven’t already met) and was so concerned for you. . .

      Anyway, more love.

  7. Sophy says:

    I got a real scare when I woke up that morning and saw first, your status and second Sara’s. We unfortunately don’t know each other as well as I’d like, but I care about you. I was really relieved when I heard that you were in safe hands.
    That being said, I think it’s important that you don’t feel that you made us worry, that’s what friends are for. I’m really glad to hear that you are doing better, and it really make me p.o that they did’t take proper care of you. You deserve the best.

  8. saradraws says:

    Yes, I’m late…story of my life. I remember those statuses, and they were fucking scary. I could only imagine that you would have real cause to make them…even scarier. Anyway, glad to finally get all caught up. I don’t know what having a TIA means in the long run…it sounds serious…

    Should you start wearing a helmet? I could send some cool stickers for it ;)

    Lots o’ love.s

    • Summer Solstice Girl says:

      In the long run, it could mean having a big stroke, the kind that leaves sequels. Or that it will never happen again. All I can do is to remain watchful, unfortunately.

      i definitely should start wearing a helmet every day!

      Happy New Year to you and your family, beautiful. Lots of love to you as well

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