Saturday, March 21, 2009
This all began on Tuesday, March 3rd. We had just returned from an amazing 10 day vacation in Florida on Sat. night. Tues morning I was getting ready to head out to an appt and Rob was on his way to the airport to catch a flight to Kansas City. As I was shutting down my computer to headout, I had an acute onset of an extremely painful headache, one like I have never experienced. As a migraine sufferer I know headaches, and this was no migraine. My vision was blurry, I was disoriented, short of breath, and vomiting. My head felt as if someone had placed it in a vice grip and was constantly turning it while someone else was whacking me with a 2 x 4. It was the most painful experience I have ever had. I managed to get to a phone and called Rob. He called 911 and came immediately back home. He had been gone barely 10 minutes when this started. My blood pressure was elevated when the paramedics arrived. They took me to the hospital and did a bunch of tests. They treated me with morphine for the pain. They also did a CT of the head and a lumbar puncture to rule out an aneurysm or meningitis. All my tests came back negative and they sent me home with pain medicine and instructions to follow up with a neurologist. On Wednesday we called to make the appropriate follow up appts with my pcp and neurologist. I was still having horrible pain, but not as bad as the day before. The headaches became more positional, which as a nurse, led me to think I had now developed a spinal headache on top of the existing headache. We saw my PCP on Thurs for follow-up, who ordered an MRI/MRA of the brain. My blood pressure was within an acceptable range, and he too felt I had developed a spinal headache. He set me up to have an Epidural blood patch the next day. So on Friday, we went in for the blood patch, which did not work. That afternoon we saw the neurologist. He felt very strongly that this was probably a new type of migraine. He started me on Elavil and gave me more pain meds. We were to follow up with him again on Mon. Friday evening I had the MRI/MRA. The weekend came and I continued to feel horrible. I had been in bed all this time, not able to function normally. Rob was home taking care of me and the kids all week. OVer the weekend my headaches got worse, and I had at least 3 episodes very similar to the first one on Tues. Monday came and we went back to see the neurologist. We questioned him on his thought process and again he very strongly felt it was migraine. He did order a CTA with venous studies of the brain to look for clots as a precaution. He increased the Elavil and started me on Prednisone, appropriate treatment for severe migraine. I felt and looked horrible that day. The headaches were still positional, and so, he went ahead an ordered a repeat blood patch, as sometimes two are necessary. Tuesday (now one week later since the initial attack), I woke up and actually felt better than I had in a week. The pain was much better! Rob called to let the neurologist to let him know that I was better, and did we still need to head to the hospital. He encouraged us to go ahead and let the anesthesiologist make the call as to whether or not the blood patch should be repeated. On the way to the hospital I started to have another episode. By the time I got to surgery dept, I was in another full blown attack...worse than the initial one. At some point in time, and this is where it gets fuzzy for me, my BP was 234/130. The blood patch was repeated, and they were treating my blood pressure with IV medication. I had now bought myself an admission to the CICU. (This just happens to be the floor where I had worked for 2 1/2 years).