Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Time to Sit and Chill

Evidently that's what I need to be doing. The last twenty four hours have been quite eventful... More medical (mis)adventures. We're pretty sure I'm now fine, but I got a ride in an ambulance to a Russian hospital and had to undergo neurological tests. 

I was running an errand for work yesterday afternoon when my peripheral vision became pixelated and pulsating -- while driving. S-C-A-R-Y. There was no way to pull over; no parking anywhere and I had to keep going until I basically got back to work.

Once in the building, I called my husband and asked him to look up my symptoms online. Between the two of us (yeah, I know, where did WE go to medical school), we figured I was having vision problems due to a migraine that might be coming on -- or one that affected the eye muscles. In order to indicate something more serious, there would have likely been other symptoms present that I didn't have.

My vision returned to almost normal within an hour, so I planned to get it checked out that evening or the next day if it got worse. We had Parent-Teacher conferences that evening, and I felt that I just couldn't miss it... I didn't say anything about it, tried to get my photocopying done for the following day, and threw up a few times from the nausea caused by my blurred vision. 

I managed to get through half of the conferences when I realized that the lines in my grade book were moving and I couldn't tell a mom what grades her daughter had without "chasing" them with my eyes -- and that I could only see straight ahead. That's when I suddenly announced to my colleague (and a started mother) that I needed to get to the medical center (hospital)

The quickest way to get there was to get a taxi, so off I went. I really didn't want to make a big scene and I was so embarrassed by the fuss.

It wasn't until I was laying in the clinic that I got truly frightened. The doctor had to get a neurologist because I was presenting other symptoms -- problems with the coordination tests. I also had numbness on my right side, while still retaining full function. Once the doctor insisted I be hooked up to an IV to rehydrate me and prepare me for a catscan of my brain, I got scared... She wasn't sure it was simply a migraine and needed to make sure I didn't have a clot in my brain.

MY GOODNESS! All I could think about were my children... The mere possibility of that chilled me to the bone and I just prayed with all my might that I would always be able to be there for them.

It took Chris so long to meet me there... I was really quiet, but tears kept rolling out the sides of my eyes. I was utterly relieved when he arrived and just held my hand. He kept things light and cracked jokes for about an hour while we waited until I would have enough of the IV solution in my bloodstream to enhance the catscan.

Then off we went in an ambulance to the central emergency hospital in the city. It felt other-worldly... Nothing but the concrete block building with the essentials, no splash of color or anything to keep it from being so unwelcoming and scary. The catscan equipment was state-of-the-art, but everything else I saw (signage, building, personnel) could have been from twenty -- or fifty -- years ago. I actually had my camera... But there's NO way I would have been allowed to use it -- and I sure didn't feel well enough to try.

The catscan was shockingly fast and I was done within twenty minutes -- with perfectly healthy pictures of my brain to reassure us. My doctor let me go home, provided I would come back again the following day to get my vision checked and to follow up with the neurologist. 

More than anything, I wanted to see my children and go to bed... Katya was leaving on a school trip and I just had to see her before she left for a few days. So we then left the hospital at 11:15 p.m., absolutely grateful that the driver from Chris's office was waiting for us outside the ER. 

Today I'm basically fine, but the right side of face still feels as if I've recently had a shot of novocaine that hasn't completely worn off. You know how your lips feel fat when that happens? It's like that... With a "fat" cheek, chin, and area around my eye.

They'll look at that this afternoon when they check my vision.

I went to work this morning, but was sent home. Thankfully! I'm so tired after the stress of yesterday. 

I'll now take another nap before going to see the doctor.


Tina in CT said...

I hope you are having Vatchislav drive you! Call me at work when you are back home.

The Expatresse said...

Wow. No fun. Do you get migraines with auras? We all get them (except Baboo), but no auras.

Sending positive thoughts your way . . . take care of yourself.

Cindy Niles said...

VERY scary!

Tami said...

Wow! How scary! So glad you're home and doing better. We'll keep you in our prayers today. Take it easy. ((hugs))

Tina in CT said...

Thank you to everyone for your concern.

Her worried mom in New England...

Carolynn and Steve said...

oh my goodness. I am so glad that you are safely home and that you are feeling better. I agree--take it easy and try to get some rest. I'll be thinking of you!

Katya said...

Oh, Tamara, I wish we could be there to help you....

The Expatresse said...

Okay . . . we need updates! You have been in my thoughts all day.

Susan said...

I had a stroke at 32, so dont rule that out.
I have migraines with auras, so I thought it was a really bad migraine.
Scarey stuff. I made a full recovery, but I, like you could only think of my 3 little kids at home.

Tina in CT said...

Now I'm back to worrying again!

Your mother

Carey and Norman said...

So sorry to hear about your day. How scary. I will be thinking about you and praying for you. It is times like these that I'm sure you miss home!!

Annie said...

My gosh..... I read the posts in the wrong order, so didn't realize how serious this all was. Is your poor mom having to read this all on your blog?

Anyway...the fact you can blog about it is a GOOD sign. It must have been so terrifying.

I have to be a little amused, though, that you and Chris were trying to diagnose you via internet before heading to a doctor. I probably would have done the same thing... one wants to be prepared and all....

Thank heaven you are OK.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that you are at home.
Treat your fancy doctors with caution. Get some second opinion from the simple (not famous) doctor if you can. It is sometime so very useful.