The room was spinning… Whirling… Dancing.
My head pounded and I felt faint.
The episodes started happening in late August and by September, I was having them a few times a month. I also began having issues keeping my balance during them, and sometimes couldn’t find the right words.
In October, my headaches started becoming daily affairs. It felt as if the left hemisphere of my brain had cement poured into it, and, occasionally, little jackhammers would show up to drill away.
My GP recognised that my vertigo spells and headaches were related, so she put in a referral to a neurologist.
As October progressed into November, my balance became very bad and my headache was unbearable. Something was wrong and it became apparent that I needed to be assessed in hospital sooner rather than later.
So, off to A&E (Accident and Emergency) we went. My lovely husband took me to the nearest hospital and there I had blood tests and a MRI scan on my head done.
I was very happy when the scan came back clear. I’ve had family and friends pass away from brain tumours, so I was pretty relieved when the doctor said there was nothing to worry about there.
He continued to say that they would be admitting me, because I was clearly unwell and unsafe to go home. Needless to say, I wasn’t as happy about that news.
Hospitals are there so that sick people can get better. But if you are sick… A hospital is a hard place to get better in.
It is loud. Bright. Nurses and assistants come by to take stats, bloods, give meds, etc. Doctors wake you up to talk. Other patients yell, etc.
Knowing all of this and sitting there with an extreme headache… A hospital stay did not look attractive to me at all.
Either way, I was moved to a holding ward overnight. It is a ward for patients who need to be in hospital but do not have a bed on a proper ward, or may only be in for temporary observation.
The night nurse there was amazing. She was so full of life and was hilarious. She made sure I got pain relief and was comfortable.
One very unpleasant aspect to this whole ordeal was the fact that I couldn’t walk on my own. My balance was so poor that I couldn’t stand up without holding anything, let alone try to walk. This meant that I wasn’t allowed to use the washroom. I had to have a commode brought to my bed and use that instead. Not fun.
The next day, I saw a neurologist. She told me that she thought I was having a type of migraine that can cause all of the balance issues, and other problems, that I’ve been having. She went over medication and said that I should be okay to go home with that medication, and follow up with the neurologist my GP had referred me to. I just had to be cleared by the physiotherapist to make sure I was safe to go home.
Excellent… I thought. I’ll be home later today! I was mentally packing my bags, until about an hour later, when the physio arrived.
We first tried using walking sticks to help me balance and that was a disaster.
Then, we tried a walking frame. The type with wheels on the front and rubber stoppers on the back legs. I thought I did a decent job with that, but they felt I was too shaky still. I wasn’t given clearance and was told I would be in hospital longer.
I also wasn’t cleared to use the walker to go to the washroom. Apparently it was “too far”. Ugh.
That evening, my hubby arrived to visit and just before he left, they came and took me to a proper ward room.
I was in the bed closest to the door, with three other ladies in the room. Across from me were two elderly women and beside me was a lady in her 40s.
I got settled in and had to say bye to my husband. Saying goodbye to your loved ones whilst you are stuck in a hospital bed is up there amongst the most unpleasant experiences, but I was glad to have had him there to help me settle into my new room. .
Once he was gone… I realised something… The washroom was right across the hall. I was so close!
So I rebelled and used my walker to get to it.
To be continued…