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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Setback - MEDICAL

I've had my first official "setback" today. Until now, it seemed to be a clear cut from Caring Bridge where those posts were more related to my physical recovery and Husband Amused is more for my psychological recovery. But today I experienced a scare, directly related to my recovery as a patient of neurosurgery. So I am back to using this blog as a simple way to inform the people who care about me how I am doing with my recovery.

Last night I saw one act of Cosi Fan Tutte with Opera Grand Rapids. I did okay and went down to the pit to say hi to my friends (I guess I mean hug everyone because I was so happy). It was probably too much to do, but I was okay.

Today I went to the Public Museum, just to "do" another normal thing out. Again, I felt as if I were overdoing it slightly. I had lunch at the museum, and there I noticed a few things:

My left eye (originally the problem eye, which has been 100% cured for 10 days now), is now 30% diminished in its light and color saturation. Also, I have ringing in my ears again, and I started experiencing some headaches again.


I was driven home, got on the couch with some ice on my head, and dialed the neurosurgeon's emergency answering service. I spoke to the neurosurgeon on call (not my own, it is Saturday) and fully discussed my case and my current symptoms. To make a long story short, I am going to wait until Monday morning to go in first thing and get the once-over regarding those symptoms.

Now the good part starts.

After I was on the couch, I felt a little more tired. So I went up to bed (4pm I guess). I wrote a little bit, then got VERY tired. So I closed the laptop and put my head down with some ice on my head.


I tried to call MJ. "Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh . . ."

Nothing. I could have reached for my phone, but I forgot to bring it up with me. She was downstairs in the kitchen.

I tried to call for her again. "AaaaaaaaAAAAAHHHHH!"

Nothing. I felt lucid, not mentally slow. But my body was slow. If I had needed to jump out of bed to save my life, I probably could have, but for some reason I really, really didn't want to. I felt the need to remain extremely still, not moving once inch. Since I was lucid, I kept trying to call for MJ and, in the meantime, I tried to think what had happened. Overall, the past two days I have been "pushing it" regarding my recovery, trying to do some basic "normal things" outside of the house, but with supervision. (Never alone.) So I thought. What was I feeling? I COULD move if I really had to, but I didn't feel like it would be the right thing to do. What else was I feeling?


Fast heat beat. I was completely still, and had been for a while, completely relaxed. So what was happening?


Now, I love MJ. I love her with all my heart, and every day is like the best honeymoon ever (yeah, baby!!), filled with an explosion of love and tenderness, excitement and intrigue . . . but even MJ could not conjure this kind of urgency in my blood. Something was just plain wrong.

Blood pressure. [Pardon me for saying this, but . . .] Ess-Aitch-Eye-Tee.

My blood pressure HAS been a huge problem recently. Even WITH my current meds, when I get totally stressed it can read 170/115, way too high, and my docs know and we are working on it.

But I forgot—totally forgot this morning with all the excitement last night and today—to take my three different blood pressure pills. (Also, the first time I had the "spiral" episode in my head - see "The Head Crash" blog - I had also forgotten to take them too.)


Nothing. I was not in mortal danger, and on some level I knew this for sure. But I conserved energy, staying very relaxed, and kept calling.

She came in. To make a long story short, she saw my condition (which I guess looked horrible), called work to cancel her appearance tonight, then with my blood pressure meds and a lot of ice, I was okay in about two hours, but with one heck of a "hangover"-type headache, which some pain pills took care of.

MJ says I was talking "baby-talk" to her when she came in, speaking slow, softly, and sort of slurring my (carefully chosen and few) words as I remained exactly still. We almost called an ambulance, etc., but once my blood pressure came down (we did not measure it, but I could feel it) my speech got better, more wordy and "regular conversational" and I felt better.

My vision, ringing in the ears, and headaches are still hanging around tonight, but I feel okay if I simply rest.

So I will stop typing and will fill everyone in tomorrow.


  1. Scary! I hope you are taking this as a serious warning to slow down.

    I also have high blood pressure (has anyone ever studied whether there's a correlation between playing the oboe and hypertension?). I had to change meds for pregnancy and breastfeeding and it has not been under great control since and readings in the 170's are not uncommon for me. And I have had periods where I've been very neglectful about taking my meds because they make me feel like crap (beta blockers - I can't believe anyone would ever take them for stage fright like I've heard some people do).

    Anyways, I don't mean to make this about me. I've just been meaning to mention that we have the hypertension in common and now seems like an appropriate time!

    Now chill out with some good books and movies and stay home!! I'm sure cooking a small amount is about as adventurous as you should be.

    Let me know if you need more nagging. I'm good at it ;)


  2. OMG, Ale! Please take it easy; you just had neurosurgery! If you get frustrated by being housebound, just remember being stuck in the hospital. Hope you're feeling better today and get a clean bill of health at tomorrow's check-up.

  3. What are we going to do with you, Ale? Don't you know that there's nothing "normal" about your life right now? That what was normal before is far from it now? This is the time to stay in a "safe zone" - no pushing, no trying for the normalcy of yesterday - listen to your body carefully, BEFORE it has to scream at you. Relish the quiet, take naps, do what comes easily. In time, you'll find your new rhythm.