Thursday, February 28, 2008

I'm lucky to be alive.

That's what the doctor told me this morning.

Today started out as a good day. Then it all went bad rather quickly. I was getting ready for work when suddenly my head felt like it literally exploded. I cannot describe the pain I felt, it was maybe the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. It was as if someone was drilling into my head with a power drill. I couldn't see straight and I couldn't stand up. About 5 minutes later the pain subsided enough that I was able to finish getting dressed and brush my teeth even though the entire right side of my head was throbbing. My immediate thought went to my friend Don who almost died from a brain aneurysm. My next thought went to my Uncle Ronnie who DID die of a brain aneurysm. I went to the computer and looked up info on brain aneurysms and the symptoms described matched what was happening to me. I told the wife I'd better make a doctor appointment when I got to work, kissed her goodbye and left. Driving to the office, the right side of my head was still throbbing immensely and I could not shake the feeling that something was happening to me so instead of going to the office I kept driving until I got to the base hospital and up to the ER. They took my blood pressure and admitted me immediately. Apparently my blood pressure was so high that they were worried about me keeling over right on the spot. They hooked me up to a couple machines, drew some blood and put in an IV while they waited for the doctor. I figured they'd just give me a once over and send me home so needless to say, this started to really scare me.

As if I weren't scared enough, imagine how I felt when they wheeled in an EKG machine and gave me one of those. I breathed a little easier when the nurse said the EKG looked normal. Eventually the doctor showed up, a German doctor named Dr. Maral. There's one great thing about German doctors - they don't sugarcoat things. She told me in no uncertain terms that my blood pressure was "disastrously high" and that based on what I told them had happened that morning, coupled with my history of hypertension and my current BP, I very possibly could have (or had) an aneurysm. She then yelled to the nurse that she was going to radiology, came back and told me that I would have a CT scan (CAT scan) ASAP to see if it showed anything. Radiology was busy so I ended up laying on the ER table for about an hour waiting. The nurse took my BP every 10 minutes and I remained hooked up to a couple machines. Eventually they were ready me and I received my first ever CAT scan then went back to the ER and waited another 45 minutes for Dr. Maral to read my results. Fortunately the CAT scan didn't reveal any major damage. She explained to me that a CAT scan is not sensitive enough to show any leakage caused by an aneurysm so the only way to be 100% sure would be a lumbar puncture. But the fact that nothing major could be seen on the CAT scan was positive. She also thought I might have had a mild stroke at first but since I didn't experience loss of vision or most of the other symptoms, she all but ruled it out. But she could not rule out an aneurysm.

An aneurysm. That is the scariest word in the English language to me right now. I sat there laying in the ER waiting for my CAT scan and could not stop thinking about my wife and the X Man and my unborn son. What if I really had keeled over? What if I did have an aneurysm and it ruptured and killed me on the spot or turned me into a vegetable. The thought of never seeing the X Man again and never getting to meet my little unborn son who has been kicking me every time I put my hand on my wife's belly...well, it scared the hell out of me. So scared that when I left the ER and got into my car, I lost control and started crying into my steering wheel. I guess a brush with death will do that to you.

Dr. Maral prescribed a couple blood pressure medications for me to start taking. She told me to take some time off from work and relax so I'm on leave for the next week or so. She said that I'm a walking time bomb right now and if I'm not careful I could explode any minute. She told me all the things I'm supposed to avoid from now on. I have to avoid lifting weights and doing anything that causes me to exert myself until my BP comes down a little. I also had to buy a BP machine for the home and I'm supposed to take my BP 2-3 times a day and keep a diary of the readings to make sure it comes down.

So I guess the past 10 years of hard living have finally caught up with me. At least I have a second chance, some people never get that. But when a doctor tells you that you're lucky to be alive, it kind of has an affect on you. I guess it's time to make some changes...

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you kept driving to the hospital and didn't brush this off!!! Take care of yourself.

Birgit said...

Oops, I'm not anonymous...

Last post was from Birgit (Wuerzburg Girl)

Anonymous said...

Rik, Thank God you had the sense to go to the hospital. You need to follow the doctors orders to the letter! Take care of yourself brother.
Steve-O

dizzysatch said...

jeepers, I check on your blog and this is what I read. What a scare!! Thank goodness you went straight to the ER and caught it in time!
Ingat.

Anonymous said...

Rik, thank God it wasn't too serious but yeah, keep safe mate. Take care. Bill & Cielo x

mrdick said...

Well Rick welcome to the club nuthin you did caused the problem as aneurysms are hereditary and the BP was the trigger I started out on 20 mg of lLisinopril and went to 10 mg and am now on 5mg go to amazon.com and get a Omron wrist cuff BP machine and keep it on the night stand your BP is the highest when you wake? Dont jump just take it slow weigh all the options and do call me if they start talking about cutting into your lid as you want the best not too many guys can do this and you live to tell about it, but ease up it happens to the best of us we will include you in our prayers hang in there..............Don