I guess I had always been on the side of giving medical care rather than receiving it. Being wheeled through a hospital on a stretcher is an interesting point of view, especially if you wonder if you are about to encounter a coworker along the way somewhere. Riding an elevator while laying down feels really strange! Being rolled through a public hallway in your PJs and blankets is quite a humbling experience, though I never gave it a second thought when I was the one pushing the bed or the stretcher.
Exhausted from the previous night, I showed up in the neurologist office just to be told to go to the hospital to be admitted for testing. It was apparent that I did not have an emergent brain bleed or something, but the next thing to look for was a brain tumor. So, CT scans, MRIs, bloodwork galore, and lumbar punctures… what fun!!!
Thankfully, they did not find a brain tumor, but they also could not find anything abnormal… I had a 6th intercranial nerve palsy causing the double vision, but why??? Well, it “could” be early Multiple Sclerosis, but I didn’t have any lesions. It “could” be viral meningitis. It “could” be Bell’s Palsy. It “could” be just a fluke. Nobody seemed to have a clue as to what was causing it. They discharged me with steroids to decrease the swelling in the nerve & hopefully return my vison to normal.
But, that just made me sick at my stomach! I could not stop vomiting… I threw up so many times in such a short timeframe. I remember feeling so frail, so weak, so stinking dehydrated. I learned that throwing up in a neurologist waiting room trash can leads to another hospital admission, but this time for IV fluids. Once as I regained some elasticity to my skin, clarity to my urine, and some much needed energy from the fluids, I was once again discharged.
Not a day later, I was back on the phone to my neurologist. I had spiked a 102ºF fever and was feeling quite sick. Being the fiesty, educated nurse that I was, I remember arguing with him on the phone as to what could be causing such a fever. My neurologist was positive that it was not a neurology issue and that I needed to just go to the ER to be admitted through a different physician. Frustrated and feeling abandoned, I called the only routine doctor that I had seen, my OB / Gynocologist of coarse!
I remember feeling so drained, so faint as I sat in the waiting room alongside all of the pregnant ladies anxiously awaiting their sonograms and checkups. I was dizzy, flushed, and couldn’t stop shaking. Looking around and realizing I probably shouldn’t be exposing all of those innocent ladies to whatever was going on inside of me, I asked to be put in a room to lie down and rest. After running a simple blood test, they discovered that my white blood cell count was 25,000 which is 2-3 times what it should be. A spike in WBC to this extent, alongside my symptoms, is indicative of a strong infection. And, then there was admission #3. More tests, lumbar punctures, IV antibiotics, fluids… and not any further answers…
I was discharged once again with an eye patch to help with the double vision, ibuprofen / Aleve for the swelling in my 6th intercranial nerve and the severe spinal headaches from all of the lumbar punctures, and not a clue as to what caused this entire event.