It was September 2nd and even though it was a Thursday, it was my Friday after working 40 days straight. I wore a pale pink dress with matching pink shorts and soft makeup. Chuck and I were going to have a date after my work, so he drove me. I was excited to give sessions to my clients, but I was also excited for some days off to recollect myself. Chuck asked if I wanted breakfast and I wasn’t really feeling like anything, but he pulled into McDonald’s. That morning, out of the shower, I noticed my right leg, knee down, was all swollen.
“It’s like three times the size,” I showed Chuck. “So weird!”
I had been having terrible Charlie horses lately and thought maybe I needed to eat a banana.
By the time he pulled up to the drive thru window, my ankle was now swollen, and my right arm was going numb. Breathlessly, I told Chuck I thought I needed to go to the hospital. He looked at me weird, but we were right around the corner from the local hospital. He pulled up the ER and by this time, I couldn’t speak. I could see the words in my head, but I couldn’t speak them out. Chuck dropped me off and drove off to park (I know, right?). I took three steps into the alcove and passed out on the security guard. All I remember was being in a large surgical-like room and a female nurse was asking for scissors to cut off my dress. A male nurse told her that scissors weren’t needed, and I started to sob. I think I uttered, “I’m sorry”. The doctor was asking me questions, but I couldn’t respond. The female nurse started screaming at me that I was being disrespectful and to answer the doctor, which only made me cry harder. It made her even angrier and she got in my face.
“Move your leg!” she yelled.
But I couldn’t.
“When did the first symptom start. It’s important,” she screamed. “You need to answer me!”
But I didn’t even know what time it was right then. I held up 8 fingers and nodded when the male nurse asked me if I meant 8-o-clock.
An IV was put in, my dress, earrings, and barrettes yanked off and I was in the CT machine. It didn’t take long, and they were telling me I didn’t have a stroke, but my blood was coming back abnormal. They took me to a regular ER room where Chuck, who had absolutely no idea what was happening, came in. Then the blinding migraine happened, and I was swept into having a doppler on my leg and a MRI, and then admitted to the neurology floor. I kept repeating that I felt weird and there was an out-of-body feeling that I was having. My brain and my mouth weren’t working together. My brain would tell my leg to move, but it didn’t. I was so confused.
I’m not sure if it was the magnesium they gave me, the contrast from the CT, or the Benedryl, but I had the worst panic attack and just wanted to sleep it off. I woke up unsure where I was. I could read my texts but not reply. My left eye had completely swollen shut, and I was hallucinating and I felt like I was dying. Now, I know I’m a Scorpio, but this time I’m not exaggerating. I kept thinking of my brother who passed in March and wondered if he felt the same way. It wasn’t a sense of loneliness or fear, but more of darkness. Stark darkness. I wondered if my life had meant anything, and if this was it then I failed. I cried myself into slumber, waking up to the nurses doing Tik-Tok dances in the hallway. Nope, that one wasn’t a hallucination, but I was surprised I was alive. I fell back to sleep, waking up to a nurse drawing my blood. I opened my eyes and felt semi-normal. I picked up my phone and could read my texts. I stood up and felt semi-normal again. I also realized they gave me Compazine for nausea, and it gives me panic attacks. I discovered this years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter and got the flu. On the way home, I had to hang my head out of the window because I felt claustrophobic. At least that was figured out.
So, the hospital doctors were stumped and told me they thought I had a hemiplegic migraine, which favors signs of a stroke. When I got home, I read my paperwork only to find out that I had a SVT blood clot in my leg (the one that was swelling) and vocal cord paresis. It was the holiday weekend, so I couldn’t see my primary until Tuesday. This and next week are filled with appointments as to what next. It’s believed it likely wasn’t a migraine, but a TIA from the release of another blood clot. My leg is still a “hot mess”, a direct quote from my doctor. I still feel “weird”. My leg hurts, I’m having and is still swollen. And I’m still super weepy. I’ve been a bit quieter, but not because my brain isn’t working (it seems to be okay). I am trying to figure out my “what next”, but not in the medical way. I didn’t have a near-death, yet I feel a void that I’m trying to figure out how I’m supposed to fill it.
I don’t always believe everything happens for a reason, but I do believe that there is a reason for some things and I’m doing soul searching. I’m deep in thought and that means I get quiet and write a lot. So, stay tuned…
I believe in you,