The last couple of days have been kind of crazy! I wasn't sure if I wanted to write about this, but it was pretty scary and it has taken up a lot of my head space for two days now, so it's hard not to write about it.
Yesterday afternoon, I was in the kitchen cooking dinner, and Jerry was there chatting with me. He suddenly got this horrible headache--he grabbed his head and was moaning. He's never very dramatic when it comes to stuff like that, and I have a hard time even getting him to take a Motrin when he gets the occasional headache, but he was clearly in a lot of pain and he took two Motrin right away.
I told him to go sit on the couch while I finished making dinner, but something about the way he looked and the way he was acting had me really worried. I remembered Dr. Oz saying on his show one time that an aneurysm in the brain would feel like "the worst headache you've ever had" (or something to that effect). Jerry said he'd never felt pain like that, and he was having a hard time even focusing, so I mentioned going to the emergency room (knowing that he would decline).
He was in so much pain that he actually said he thought it was a good idea to go. He said he was also having a hard time taking a deep breath, and the roof of his mouth felt odd. On the way to the hospital (it's about a 30 minute drive), he said his left arm was going numb and felt really cold. When he said that, I feel really panicky.
When we got to the ER, he was seen right away. I felt kind of silly going there for "just a headache" (Jerry did, too), but I would rather have been safe than sorry. When Jerry described what was going on to the doctor, the doctor ordered a CT scan. I was totally unprepared when the doctor came in and told us that there was an abnormal spot on the scan. He said it could either be a small stroke, or it was just normal brain tissue that happened to look abnormal on the scan--and we would have to do an MRI to find out which. The word "stroke" actually took my breath away. It was even more concerning because the spot on the scan was the area of his brain that, if damaged, would possibly affect his left arm.
First, though, because of the severe headache, the doctor wanted to do a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to check for pressure or bleeding on the brain. The words "spinal tap" scare me to death--it sounds absolutely awful. Jerry was scared, too, but because of his symptoms, agreed to it. So, the doctor performed the lumbar puncture, and that (thankfully) came back normal. He said that if the CT scan had been normal as well, he would have probably just sent Jerry home; but because the CT scan had that abnormal spot on it, he wanted to find out what that was.
He wanted to transport Jerry by ambulance to a different hospital, because the emergency room where we were didn't have an MRI machine. Jerry would have to stay the night there and then get an MRI the next day (today). After talking about it for a minute, we asked the doctor if we could just go home and then have our family doctor order the MRI (the ambulance cost plus hospital stay would be very expensive). He would have preferred we just went right to the hospital, but he called our family doctor to check on getting the MRI order, and she said she would do that. Jerry really didn't want to spend the night at the hospital, so we went home (by this time, it was already 10:30 pm). Meanwhile, my mom had come to the ER several hours prior to get my kids; so thankfully, she and my dad were able to take care of the kids and Joey while this was going on.
This morning, Jerry was feeing much better. The headache was gone, his back was a little sore from the lumbar puncture, but he was actually feeling like the trip to the ER was a big waste of time. I went for a run this morning (had a great tempo run!) and when I got home, Jerry said that his MRI was scheduled for 2:00 today. I was shocked that they got him in right away, but that was awesome!
We went to Sam's Club to pick up some stuff, and then stopped for lunch. When we were getting in the car to head to the hospital, Jerry's headache started again. He said it felt different this time, though, and was likely due to the lumbar puncture (the doctor had warned him that he may get a headache).
We went to radiology, and once we got in the waiting room, Jerry was hit with SO MUCH PAIN in his head and his back. I didn't know what to do--he needed the MRI, and we were already there; but I thought maybe we should go back to the ER. He was sure the pain was from the lumbar puncture, though, and he wasn't having any other symptoms, so he decided to stay for the MRI.
While we waited, I felt absolutely terrible. I've never seen him in so much pain, and I felt really helpless. We were in the radiology department, and there weren't even any doctors there (I asked if he could get pain meds, and they said they aren't allowed to do that, and he'd have to go to the ER). So I asked if they could let Jerry lie down on a bed, and I walked as fast as I could to the other side of the hospital to the pharmacy. I bought a bottle of Motrin, and rushed back to radiology. He looked even worse than before. I've only seen him cry a handful of times in 16 years, so when he does, it totally breaks my heart.
I gave him three of the Motrin and some water, and I just kept asking what I could do to help. He told me to call our family doctor and tell her what's happening, and ask if we should go back to the ER. She called me back right away and said yes, we should go to the emergency room as soon as the MRI was done.
When Jerry went back to the room for the MRI, I just went outside and started crying and crying. I had been trying not to cry in front of him, because I didn't want to freak him out more, but I just felt so awful seeing him in that much pain.
When he came out of the MRI, he was doing MUCH better. He said that lying down had helped a lot (the ER doctor had told us that he should try to lie down flat). Each time he sat up or stood up, the headache and backache would return. We walked out of radiology and right next door to the ER.
The doctors in the ER weren't at all surprised about the pain from the lumbar puncture--they said it happens that severely in about 10% of patients. Jerry was lying flat, and feeling better by the minute. They gave him an IV for fluids, pain meds, and caffeine. Apparently, caffeine really helps the headache, so they gave him 500 mg(!) of caffeine through the IV.
We stayed for what felt like an eternity, but was actually about four hours. The pain meds and caffeine combo really helped him, and he was feeling good by the time we left. We are still waiting for the results of the MRI, but the ER doctor took a look at it and said that there wasn't anything grossly abnormal from what he could see (but he reminded us that he is not a radiologist, so we should wait for the actual report).
So, we basically spent this afternoon/evening (AND yesterday afternoon/evening) in the emergency room. I was worried sick today, but I feel a lot better after seeing the doctor in the ER, and hearing him explain that it's not going to kill him, and the headache/backache that he was experiencing today was just from the test yesterday.
We still don't know exactly what happened to cause the initial symptoms, but it very likely could have just been a very bad headache. When I fainted and broke my jaw, it was totally out of nowhere--I'd never fainted before, and I haven't fainted since--so it was just a freak thing that happened one time. I told Jerry that maybe his "worst headache ever" was just his "freak thing". Of course, we still have to wait for the MRI results (hopefully by tomorrow), but right now, I'm just glad that Jerry is feeling better!
I don't have any pictures to go with this post, so I'll just share one of my favorite pictures of Jerry. (This was his first time ever tasting a Big Mac!)