OUR AMAZING BRAINS
It was a Saturday and the start of a 3 day weekend. I awoke with a screaming migraine headache. The migraine wasn’t that uncommon. In my family headaches seem to be, for the female members, synonymous with monthly periods. Some months they became migraines so severe that I couldn’t tolerate noise, light or sound and I vomited to the point of needing IV meds.
A family member took me to the ER on Saturday where I received injections for the pain and additional ones to stop the vomiting. Typically after receiving those injections I would sleep for 4-6 hours and wake feeling exhausted but with the pain and vomiting stopped. This particular day that didn’t happen. The pain and vomiting persisted with no decrease in sight. Sunday was a repeat of Saturday. Another ER visit. More injections. Again, no relief. Monday, a repeat of Saturday and Sunday. Absolutely not making a dent in the pain or the vomiting.
Three Days And Still No Relief
Tuesday morning brought no relief. I was still vomiting and in intense pain. A family member took me to my primary physician whose office was now open after the 3 day weekend. After hearing the story of my 3 day headache and 3 days of daily trips to the ER for injections with no relief, he decided a cat scan was in order. As soon as he looked at the cat scan he told me that he was sending me immediately to the hospital where I would be in ICU. I was, per the cat scan, in the throes of a brain bleed. Okay then. Long story short, I spent the next 4 days in ICU being examined, poked and prodded over and over. It was determined that I had a right occipital brain bleed but the cause was never determined.
I Was One Of The Lucky Ones
My doctor told me, very frankly, that typically people my age (early 40’s at that time) who suffer something like this end up living out the remainder of their life in a nursing facility. After my release from the hospital it was several weeks before I received medical clearance to return to work. During that time I slept at least 20 hours out of every 24 hour period. As brains heal sleep is what they need and it was almost impossible for me to remain awake for any length of time. For the first year following my release from the hospital I slept many more hours each day than my norm as the brain continued the slow process of healing.
I was one of the lucky ones. There was no long term damage from my brain bleed. My doctor considered my health nothing shy of a miracle and told me many times how amazed he was each time he saw me, in subsequent years, walking around perfectly healthy.