Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Four for Four

Well, that didn’t last long.  Three of the four people in my household were hospitalized at least once since December.  A couple made two visits. 

Now it’s my turn. 


That’s been the refrain in my household too. 

Yep, me.

I had to start my own folder
 A little over a week ago I started feeling numb on the left side of my face, tongue and hand while I was getting Robert ready for day program.  It happened a few times so, of course I thought what all caregivers would think, I’M HAVING A STROKE!!!  And, just as many caregivers would react, I waited to see if it went away.  I mean, we’re busy! We have people to care for! 

(I did stick my tongue out to see if it was lopsided and also looked to see if my face was droopy but everything looked fine.  I was just tingly!)

I went to work (yes, I went to work; stop yelling at me).  Only after it happened a few more times and I told my best friend about it and she yelled at me to call the doctor or she would take me to the ER did I actually call the doctor.

I really tried to get an appointment that day.  I certainly didn’t want to go to the ER!  I talked to an advice nurse who said he would send an urgent message to my doctor and someone would call me back.  He also said if it happened again I should go to the ER.

It happened a few more times at work while I waited for the doctor to call me back.  I dreaded wasting hours in a crowded room with sick people only to be told that I was stressed.  I know I am stressed!

The doctor didn’t call so I went home. 

(Now is the moment all of you can yell at me for not immediately heading to the nearest emergency room.)

Carol made us all a nice dinner; I got Robert in bed and changed.  Then it happened again: numbness on the left side of my cheek, half my tongue and my left hand.  I took my blood pressure and it was extremely high.

At this point, even I (being the most obstinate caregiver on the planet) decided I should go to the ER.  I walked into the living room and told Richard and Carol in one sentence that I was having numbness on my left side and that I should go to the ER.

Both of them looked at me and said, “You?!” 

Yep, me.

Once I told them this had been happening all day, their looks changed from confusion to a combination of worry and anger. 

Life is complicated right now so since Richard had just had his second skin graft surgery and was on crutches, Carol can’t/shouldn’t drive (although she offered) and Robert needed someone home with him, I called my daughter. 

I explained what had been going on and told Rachel I needed a ride to the ER. 


Yep, me. 

Rach picked me up and we drove to the hospital, both kind of in shock that I was the person having a medical problem.  On the way, we talked about how I will probably hit our deductible of our high deductible health insurance – and it’s only March!  She assured me I didn’t have a brain tumor because we already have one of those in the family and the odds of two of us having one had to be astronomical.  We talked about her work, my work, Richard’s leg, and everything else we tend to talk about with a few laughs thrown in (because that’s what we do). 

In between topics, I apologized profusely for taking up her Friday night.  She wouldn’t hear of it but we both were convinced we’d be in the ER all night long.  Throughout the entire ordeal, Joelle (the best friend mentioned before) and Richard texted to find out how it was going. 

We checked in upon arrival and marveled at the empty waiting room.  We immediately were escorted back to a couple of nurses.  They checked my vitals and weighed me, laughing politely when I told them I had very heavy shoes on.  My blood pressure was very high but I wasn’t that concerned since I was very stressed out that I was having a stroke.  Then I stressed that I was going to actually cause myself to have a stroke because I was so stressed out. 

It is no fun to be in my head with Worst Case Scenarios swirling around.
We were then led into another waiting room (D) which was packed.  Ahh.  Everyone is in these back rooms – I am sure A, B and C were also packed.  We found one seat which Rach insisted I take while she pulled up a kid’s chair from the kid’s activity table.  Good thing Rach is little!

While discussing how this was going to be where we waited for hours, we were called back to see a doctor.  He had me repeat my symptoms then gave me a short neurological exam.  I was intrigued to be the one doing the exam since I am always the one watching Robert going through the exercises.  He ordered an EKG, lab work and a CT scan. 

Oh, this must be where we will have to wait for a while.

Nope.  A nurse immediately came in to conduct the EKG; another nurse followed and drew my blood who then took me straight to radiology. 

The longest wait was after all the tests and that was only for an hour.  We saw the same doctor who told me everything came back normal.  Phew!  The thyroid test was the only one that hadn’t come back yet so I thought that might be the problem.  I was advised to follow up with my regular doctor in a few days.

Rach and I thanked the doctor, paid and made our way home.  We were shocked we were in the ER for a total of two hours!  It was the shortest ER visit I have ever experienced (whether as the patient, caregiver or concerned family member)! 

Since that visit, I have continued to experience the same symptoms so I visited my General Practitioner who ordered an MRI and put me on a low-carb diet.  He also started me on low dose aspirin and wants me on a high cholesterol drug (which I am resisting but he made me shake on it. I suppose a deal’s a deal.).  I only have borderline high cholesterol but he wants to cover all his bases. 

I started the low carb diet which is making me very cranky.  I mean, seriously!  Who can live without chocolate, cookies, cake, muffins and iced chais?   Oh, and caffeine.  I was off caffeine for a long time but started up again during all the hospital stays.  I thought that might be the cause of all this too. 

The MRI is done and now I wait for my appointment with a neurologist to get the results. 

I still can’t believe I am the patient now, navigating this healthcare maze.  It feels like I am being sucked into a system that revolves around appointments, tests, waiting, medications and more appointments.  And I can’t even do it with my go-to comfort food or caffeine! 

It has been a stressful few months so I am actually hoping that stress or caffeine is causing these symptoms.  I still can’t believe I am now the patient.

Yep. Me.

1 comment:

Jane said...


I hope that you find out what is causing your symptoms and that it is an easy fix. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Blessings!