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.
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