Thursday, December 10, 2015

The worst headache ever

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!)


35 comments:

  1. So glad he his feeling better and you both can get some rest tonight!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hope Jerry is feeling 100% and the MRI is normal. I get migraines and in college I had one so bad I was vomiting and had extremely blurred vision- also required an ER trip. Bad headaches can be so scary! Hope it doesn't happen again

    ReplyDelete
  3. How incredibly stressful! All my thoughts are with you two tonight. Hang in there- everything will be OK! It just has to be. Sending a big hug.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Saying prayers that you get good news with the MRI results!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh my God, how horrible. It could have been a migraine. They can be severe. Both Charlies and I have all had the pleasure of having them, and they nearly always cause Charlie to be physically ill. I do know the feeling of a spinal headache. When the doctor was administering my epidural I jumped during it and he tapped spinal fluid. I was in agony and the pediatric nurse suggested Charlie get me a Coke for the caffeine. Excedrin Migraine has acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine. I recommend having it in the house. My husband tries to catch it with regular pain reliever before it leads to a full blown episode, like when his vision starts to change. My son and I will take the Excedrin to insure we won't suffer. I hope the results are good.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hope he's feeling better and they find out what happened!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh Katie, how scary!!! Glad Jerry's feeling better, hopefully you'll get some answers from the MRI results. Not knowing what's going on is so frustrating! Prayers for a speedy and complete recovery for Jerry, and prayers for you too. It's tough trying to be strong when you're terrified :(

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh my...what a scary 2 days! Prayers for a good report!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, what a scare. :( Glad that Jerry is feeling better now. Hoping and praying the MRI result is good news!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Prayers being said for both of you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Always better to be safe than sorry....glad he went in and you will be happy to know all his tests (hopefully) come back normal.

    **Side note~ Last Tuesday another teacher at my preschool started having stroke like symptoms. She couldn't remember where to put kids art projects, the name of the school nurse, or where she even was....she went in and had every scan and MRI done also....all came back normal and she will be back to work today.*** Our bodies are amazing and yet scary too.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Very scary - its shocking how much a massive migraine can mimic a stroke. I work in an ICU at a stroke center, we see it a lot. You did the right thing having him evaluated though. Id definately follow up with a neurologist though.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm glad your husband is okay. I hope it was a one-time thing.

    Coincidentally, I spent an hour inside an MRI machine yesterday to have my brain peeked into. I got an all clear too, so I don't have an explanation yet for my vision anomaly (not debilitating but a little worrisome). Perversely, a small part of me was disappointed because I wanted some thing to point to and blame for not only my vision problem but my depression (and my crappy running). But I'll count this as a positive.

    Best wishes to your whole family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi paullamb,
      I'm glad you got it checked out by a doctor! My parents have had vision anomalies, and otherwise checked out OK. Amazingly, it turned out to be "Occular Migraines," according to mom's neurologist and dad's retinologist. It's a painless migraine that affects vision. You will love "the cure" -- eating dark chocolate. The B vitamins help clear up the vision in both parents' cases in about 15-20 minutes. For anyone else, always see your doctor first! Then try the anecdotal remedies.
      ~Lise in Indy

      Delete
  14. Wishing the best for both of you...how scary....I hope it turns out to be nothing...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Chrissy (trampoline girl)December 11, 2015 at 8:07 AM

    I had tears streaming down my face as I read this. You guys remind me a lot of my husband and I and I kept thinking of how horrible that would be and how much I would want to help if that was my husband. I'm so glad that he's doing a lot better and I'm sending good vibes your way that everything is ok.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I went through something very similar with my husband almost 11 years ago, so I know what you've been going through the last couple days, and how frightened you must be. I hope you don't have to wait too long for the results of the MRI, and that it was something like a migraine. Poor Jerry, and poor you! *hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  17. OMG So scary! Poor Jerry and poor you. Keep us posted and I hope is is back to his normal fun self ASAP!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I second the getting some Excedrin Migraine to keep in the house! My migraines are rare but when they come on, omg they hurt like hell! Blurred vision, nauseous, I usually end up curled up on a couch just sobbing until I fall asleep. That's so scary though, I'm glad he's finally better and I hope the MRI results come in quickly to put your mind at ease!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sending good thoughts your way!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh my goodness! I sure hope you get some answers soon! I agree with what was said above - I get migraines monthly and the only thing that actually works is Excedrin Migraine.
    Sending hugs your way!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. How scary! Glad he is doing better now and hopefully you guys will get some answers soon.

    ReplyDelete
  22. That's so scary! I'm happy he's doing better and I hope everything comes back normal. I occasionally get migraines (1-2x a year) and they get so bad I vomit, it's horrible.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Such a frightening experience! I'm glad Jerry is better. Sending you supportive energy and thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hope Jerry is OK. You can take comfort in the fact that if the tech saw anything on the MRI (even though they aren't a radiologist), they would have alerted someone and Jerry would have been made to stay.

    I wonder if it was a migraine?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh my - that would be so scary!! I hope you get good news back from his MRI. I have a friend that had something similar happen years ago, and it ended up being a blood clot, so he needed to be on blood thinners for awhile but he's doing great now!
    Thinking of you guys!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I had chills reading this entire post. I sincerely hope it is just a bad headache at the end of it all. Keeping you, Jerry and your family in my prayers!

    ReplyDelete
  27. That's so scary and upsetting! I hope you're both doing well today.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh my goodness, I am so incredibly sorry! That sounds terrifying, and painful and just AWFUL! I hope everything comes back okay and it was just a freak thing1! Really, that would be the best outcome, although it always feels better to have an explanation, the explanations are probably worse scenarios than a random occurrence would be. I'm so sorry, for both of you! :/

    ReplyDelete
  29. oh my gosh that is so scary! sending good vibes to you guys and hoping for good news with the MRI!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm so sorry for the both of you! I am sure you're right, and it's just a "freak thing." Sending loads of healthy, happy vibes your way!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Gentle hugs for you and Jerry. Hopefully, everything will be OK!
    -Martine

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Katie, my name is Di, posting from Australia (a regular reader, I'm sorry I haven't introduced myself before now!). I couldn't help noticing that Jerry's symptoms are very similar to what happened to my Dad a couple of years ago. He had what is called a 'Hemiplegic Migraine' which is a migraine so severe it presents with stroke like symptoms, however unlike a stroke the symptoms resolve. Like Jerry my Dad doesn't complain and rarely has headaches so we definitely knew something was up. There are two categories of Hemiplegic Migraine. One is hereditary and the other is a random one off and chances of it happening again are minimal. Thankfully my Dad falls into the second category, hopefully (if this is what he had) Jerry will too. Wishing you all the best. Di xx

    ReplyDelete
  33. Katie, am so glad that Jerry is all right. It is scary when someone with a high pain tolerance is beyond even their threshold. You were right to go to the ER BOTH times. There were other symptoms going on that were outside normal. Not a waste of time at all. Will keep praying till the MRI results come back. Be interesting to hear what the docs make of it.
    Also, WAY TO GO!!! on finding a way to ditch those pounds. It helps us believe that we can do it, too. Every one of your weigh-ins is inspiring to me.
    ~Lise in Indy

    ReplyDelete
  34. So sorry this has happened to Jerry! Praying that everything turns out ok and it never happens again!! Thinking of all you!!
    Michelle S.

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)