That's Me

That's Me

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Me Stress? Why, I'm Cool as a Cucumber

So I spent last Friday in the hospital. No, not for clinicals. No, not for school. Nor for a job. 

I had had a headache for the last week before Friday. I woke up with it last Saturday (a week ago yesterday) and thought that it was just allergies kicking my butt. I took a Claritin and went on with my day. Each day my headache got worse and I had a harder time going on with my day. I tried more allergy meds. I tried caffiene. I tried ice on my neck. I tried Imitrex. I tried ice on my pulse points. I already drink a ton of water every day so I knew there wasn't a shortage of water in my body. I watched as my blood pressure climbed every day. 

Thursday night I woke up after a few hours of sleep with the worst pain I have ever felt in my head. I get frequent migraines; those are just baby blips on the pain map compared to what I was feeling. I laid there thinking about the possibilities. Am I dying? Is this an aneurysm? Is this a stroke? And finally: WTF is this?? 

I got up when hubby got up and went to wash the tears from my face. Not that I was crying; my eyes were watering from the pain of feeling like someone was squeezing them from inside my head while pounding on my forehead. I could feel my heartbeat in my veins, praying that they weren't going to burst inside my head. 

I looked in the mirror and stared at the droopy eye looking back at me. Great. Pain in the head and a droopy eye. I went back to lay down and decided to figure out what to do. I told the hubby man to go to work and kissed him goodbye. 

After he left, I noticed my left arm felt "light". I called the nurse at my doctor's office and told her everything along with what I'd remembered right before I called her. I just started on hormone therapy for what turned out to be not cancer and one of the things I was told about it was if I get an "extreme headache, call the doctor immediately." I finished my conversation with the nurse with, "This is definitely extreme, so I'm calling." 

Well, you know where this is headed. "You need to get a ride to the hospital. Can you get a ride? 'Cause if you can't, I'll send an ambulance." I said I'd find a ride. 

When I got to the hospital, I was immediately hooked up to monitors and my blood pressure was 75 points higher than it usually is. I begged the nurse to tell me the machine was broken. "Come on, that is not real! It can't be. My blood pressure rarely gets over 100, this is unbelievable." 

Pretty shocking to see for a
person who is hypotensive. 

She wouldn't tell me it was a broken machine. She wouldn't tell me it was a sick joke. It was really my blood pressure.

Let me interpret that machine for those of you not used to reading them. The green numbers on the right hand side in the middle, the 159/69, is my blood pressure. Everyone who has ever been to a doctor should know by now that a healthy adult blood pressure is not 159/69.

And I was tachycardic.
Hence the heart monitor.

See the droopy eye? It looks like someone punched me in that eye. No one did, that I know of.

The nurse asked if I wanted to
start my own IV for practice. 
After an hour I asked the nurse, "Am I going to make it to my 2:00 class or should I call to let them know I won't make it?" It was 9:30 and she said I might get out in time, to make the long drive, but no promises. And even if I did, did I really think it was a good idea to sit in class after all this? 

Of course I thought it was a good idea. Duh.

After coming into my room to find me trying to study more than once, the doctor talked to the nurse about if I had slept the night before. When he found out I'd only slept 2 hours the night before, he ordered the sleeping cocktail, which is just an antihistamine and liquid ibuprofen, but they are a great mixture for bringing down pain without narcotics and keeping patients calm. He said, "Make one call to whoever it is you have to notify that you're not coming in to class today..." He paused when I started to protest and made a mad face at him. He made an even sterner face at me and said, "Because you're going to sleep and then we'll do more tests. So put your phone away after that phone call because you will not be leaving here any time soon." I did not argue with that face cuz for once I was beat in the serious face department. Plus I was really tired. 

He gave me another blanket and turned out my light. The nurse checked on me frequently but I was out. Even though the pain in my head didn't stop, the medication knocked me out so I got some sleep. I thanked that doctor so many times for making me sleep because if he hadn't done that, I would have been studying in that bed 'cause I brought my netbook with my textbooks on it with me to the hospital.

CT scan. MRI. Blood work. IV fluid. Heart monitor. Alarms making people run in to my room. Fun fun fun, I tell ya. It's not every day you get the doctor himself checking on you. A little hint: if you are ever in the hospital and the doctor comes in just to ask how you're feeling every 10 minutes, that's not a good sign.

6.5 hours later...

This face would scare 
small children. 

After being in the hospital for way too long, they determined that I did not have a stroke nor did I have an aneurysm. Yay! I had a diagnosis that was stress induced and was told to go home, rest, learn to relax, and not put so much pressure on myself. I need quiet and calm to bring my blood pressure down and the pain to stop.


I told the doctor, "You don't maintain a 4.0 by being lax" but he didn't want to hear it. He said that this time I didn't have a stroke, but this is a warning that I could have one next time, and I need to take that warning seriously. 

And I am. It's a huge wake up call that I need to learn to relax because it's something I don't know how to do and I do put heavy pressure on myself. I downloaded guided meditation apps on my phone. I'm working yoga into my schedule. I'm taking time for breaks to read something fun and just to enjoy something in my day. 

And on Thursday when Little Blondie asked me to take a nap with her...

I was tired. Youngest was tired.
This is definitely relaxing.
...I didn't refuse. I'm learning. I may just enjoy this stress reducing lifestyle. A calm Eddi? You won't recognize me. 

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