A Lumbar Puncture and a Metal Pole

Last Friday night I ended up in emergency only to emerge three days later. Great way to spend a weekend I hear you all say! Friday, around noon, my vision went funny, my head went dizzy and then a few minutes after BAM the most excruciating headache ever. 10/10 for pain.

I took myself off to bed. An hour later, when Radha came inside and I tried to tell him my vision had gone all weird, I found I couldn’t get the words out. I was scrambling for the word “vision” in my head but all these other words kept popping out. Being such an avid speaker 🙂 this was a little peculiar. A little later as I slumped onto the bathroom floor, nauseous  and unable to hold myself up any longer, my husband asks me, ‘Do you want to go to the hospital?’. My response = No.

(Turning up to any kind of doctor,  to find out there is nothing wrong with you is an insecurity of mine, as I feel like I am a hypochondriac or something. Emergency is worse because then you have the added feeling that you have wasted the precious resources of the public health system).

When I woke up at 6pm and googled “sudden headache”, especially with no migraine history, I got a little worried as it is a warning sign for a TIA (mini stroke), or a stroke or aneurysm (although with my symptoms pretty much gone I did not really think it would be the later two). I called 13HEALTH and the nurse suggested I make my way to the hospital.

To make a long story shorter what followed was a CT scan, followed by a lumbar puncture, ( which is an experience that I can only describe as horrible. A needle being inserted between your vertebra and into your spinal chord is NOT normal. My body went into freak out mode where I ended up on the way to fainting but the vomiting kicked in instead). The last test I had was on Saturday morning, which was a CT scan with the die.

Each test was to ensure that there was no dead brain tissue, blood or infection in my system that would have caused the symptoms. Monday all the results came back clear and that afternoon I was free to go given the somewhat unclear diagnosis of “some sort of migraine”, perhaps a hemiplegic migraine like my sister gets.

So what do you do when stuck in a hospital for 3 days? Not much. Get sleep when you can (luckily I was very sleepy) and feel like you’re going crazy when the other people in the room have their TV’s on and up loud enough so you can hear they are all listening to different channels. Literally felt like I was going mad. Oh, and stare to the outside yearning while eating over-steamed beans and carrots.

And the lessons of this event:

  1. The sick person should NOT be allowed to make the decision NOT to go to hospital. Sick people are untrustworthy 🙂
  2. Get real. Life can change in an instant, so we need to sometimes think about that, seriously, we all have to leave this world at some point. This is not our forever place.
  3. Even when stuck in hospital creative inspiration for writing can be found. Mine was a metal pole: a way more interesting way to have characters escape down the outside of a building rather than a fire escape ladder!

Till next time,

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