I’m going to start writing a blog right now because I’m in a hospital and as you can imagine, this is my least favourite place to be. I’m thankful to say that I’m here for a non-psychological reason though. (How rare!) Mia is on my lap being a wonderfully good girl. I couldn’t do this without her. Otherwise I’m sitting surrounded by triggers trying to remember how to breathe a sufficient quantity of air. I’m also in a lot of pain – hence the hospital – which doesn’t help. It took me days to get up to courage to come here. My heart is pounding… every intercom announcement is making me jump and I’m losing my sh*t. Did I mention that I have to pee? Mia is lying down. If she wasn’t safe she wouldn’t lie down. That means I’m safe right? Yes. Muffin is all knowing. I will not stress out for nothing.
I was called to see the triage nurse and explained what’s going on. My file is open now, I have a bracelet and I’m in the waiting room. I feel calmer, which is great.
Speaking of which, I should explain. Maybe you recall my intermittent neck issues since a fall I had as a kid. Anyway… I’m used to a varying degree of pain and soreness. Recently the type of pain has changed and it’s accompanied by new symptoms. I’ve been getting random bouts of dizziness, loss of balance and ringing ears. I’ve been getting bad headaches, some nausea, numbness/tingling and a sharper pain than usual that’s spreading down my left arm. I also passed out at school for no apparent reason which was as embarrassing as it was disconcerting. It’s been getting worse so I finally decided to bite the bullet and go to the hospital last night after work. You’re all caught up. I wish I could go to a clinic instead but I don’t have a family doctor. Let’s see how long this takes.
Mia and I have been quite bored. There’s hardly anyone on staff so it took until almost midnight to see the doctor. He sent me for an x-ray right before radiology closed to rule out a fracture. This doctor is good; he didn’t stop there and he read my file making a connection no one else has.
I don’t think I’ve ever written this before but it’s time now. A large part of my self-harm has been strangulation to the point of fainting. He thinks it might have caused cervical damage. I’ve had brain imaging before but not a very detailed one so I’m going to have a blood test tonight to clear me for a cerebral/aorta-carotid angio scan with dye tomorrow. I’m not fully clear on what that entails, but we’ll see.
Despite falling asleep at around 4:30 a.m. I woke up fairly early. I think it’s because I’m nervous. I’ll be getting a call for the test appointment soon and I don’t want to miss it. Going to the hospital sucks but good came out of it; maybe we’ll see what’s really going on. Last night they took blood and Mia and I napped on the bed in the exam room. When I got cleared the doctor gave me the papers for today. He’s looking to see if there’s a vertebral artery dissection, which sounds like it’s designed to freak people out. But if that is the issue, catching it early could prevent a stroke. I’m scared honestly. If something is wrong, it’s all my fault.. I was warned about this. I knew it and I didn’t stop. I feel idiotic.
I’m back with news and a final update on what happened. I was too tired and in pain to write more yesterday and Aaron came to the hospital with me which I’m super grateful for. (Mia came too of course.)
The scan technician was very kind and prepared me for the test. She put in an IV and then we went to the machine. It took images of my head and neck with and without dye. (The dye provides better contrast and detail.) I hated it when the iodine was injected because it triggered sense memory from overdoses. I wanted to run but had to stay perfectly still, so I was just crying in the donut/tube. The weird feeling probably would’ve been ok if it weren’t a trigger…thankfully Aaron and Mia calmed me down for a few minutes afterwards which made it pass. I also got to see my brain: the one troubling me for so long! It’s pretty fascinating to look at and kind of satisfying given everything.
After the test we had to go through triage again and wait to be called by a doctor. It took quite a while for such a short conversation but it was worth it. We were told that there was no arterial dissection…what a huge relief! Honestly my brain went through a bit of ‘does not compute’ due to the shock of going from super worried and angry at myself to relief in a span of 24 hours. That’s ok though; I got very lucky considering what I’ve been doing to myself! Thank you Universe! So the pain, dizziness, ringing and stuff is due to a compressed nerve. It could be from the whiplash that I didn’t give enough time to heal but it could also be because of (or worsened by) the strangulation. They both make sense.
We left with a prescription for an anti-inflammatory pain killer, a muscle relaxant and a paper for work stating that I can’t lift anything over 10 lbs for at least 2 weeks. Since then I’ve been taking some time off school and trying to relax more than usual even if my brain makes that challenging. I need this though, and I’m trying to remind myself of that when I feel guilty.
Long story short, life gave me a pretty big warning without it being too late or having caused very dangerous vascular damage. I’m immensely grateful and really hope this will be enough to keep me from doing it ever again!
Well, that’s all folks! I hope to publish my next blog soon…I’m excited about the topic! Enjoy the rest of the week and I wish you all a wonderful weekend! Remember, take the time to care for yourself!
P.S. Here are a few pics of Mia in the hopsital; she was taking her job super seriously!