Thursday, October 8, 2015

Scary Day

Yesterday was a scary day. 

I have had my own health problems, ups and downs and I would like to say that I think I know my body pretty well. When I am stressed I an feel my blood pressure rising, I feel the onset of the headaches. Just like I know I am allergic to foods and I know the second I take a bite the feelings and experiences I have with a food allergy. I guess I feel like I just know. My dad always says there are causes and effects. Well I've had lots of causes and now I am having to deal with the effects also knows as side effects. 

I have known for months that my blood pressure is high. Just like a knew a couple of years ago with the stress, lack of sleep, working multiple jobs and eating poorly was the reason for my weight gain. Well when you continuously make poor health decisions regardless of the reasons those are the causes and life as I know it know are the effects of it all. Back to the point at hand. I've known due to the extreme stress I've been under and lack of exercise that my blood pressure has been extremely out of whack. I've known that the increased stress due to a variety of circumstances has caused my anxiety to also increase which causes what???? Yep you guessed it... higher blood pressure. Monday night I was dealing and stressing more than usual and I started to get a headache which you guessed it turned into a migraine. Tuesday it was worse, like way worse. The lights in the office seemed to appear like a bunch of crazy moving spot lights, the room was spinning, and well I wasn't feeling hot. I knew that the stress of work and lack of sleep hadn't helped so I made the decision to go home early and attempt to take some Exederine Migraine and try to sleep away the stress and pray that the headache would go away. Of course it didn't; I kept waking up in a panic worrying about things that were simply out of my control.  Wednesday morning I woke up and got about half way to work and though huh I beat this thing. Then I realized I had thought way too soon. Arrived at work and it was back! Took more meds, sipped on a Coke and prayed that I made it till work was over. You see I knew that my stress was causing the blood pressure to rise which caused the anxiety and migraine to act up. The pain from the migraine of course increased the pressure in my body causing my blood pressure to continue to rise and well - I was a perfect case of an endless circle that could only end or be fixed with medication beyond the over the counter stuff. My migraine and the pressure in my head and chest actually scared me. Scared me enough to decide to take myself to the doctor. 

This is how I work with migraines.
Sunglasses and Coke!
The quick easy version is this... last couple of month life simply fell apart, I kept catching colds cause you know while you are all stressed out your immune system is totally your friend right?  September and I weren't friendly. Ran out of meds, cold, sinuses, flu, one after another. Turned down by Red Cross to take my O- blood because I was experiencing severe hypertension. I know. I needed to deal, I needed to  see a doctor. I knew a month ago that if I wanted to stick around I needed to go to the doctor. But there were these things like it took time, money and insurance to go and I simply didn't have access to well all of the above. Seriously, what do you do? You know what the right thing to do is but actually convincing yourself that you need to take care of you and your health isn't the easiest thing. So I chose to continue to go to work, Work = Money = Attempting to take care of finances that are Root of Stress.

So back to yesterday being a scary day - I got off work, head is still pounding, determined that yes today I will take my own advice and go to the doctor to get something to eliminate the migraine for the moment and request medication for my blood pressure which in turn would reduce the migraines in whole. Follow me? This makes sense right? On the way I remembered yep I am still a Mom. I have an amazing 16 year old boy sitting at my brother's waiting for a ride home to my Mom and Dad's place (yep - My life sucks just enough to not be able to financially actually live with my own kids at the moment) Anyhow, so I called and told him I was on my way, picked him up and told him I totally needed to go to the doctor for this headache, gave him the option to go home or go hang out with me at the doctor. You guessed it - my kid is so amazing he chose me!!! Which I am sure later he totally regretted doing.  

We went to the nearest InstaCare cause that is where my snazzy new health insurance allows me to go (Oh yeah, I got insurance 10/1 from work!!) and it was easier than trying to wait to get in to see a Primary Care Doctor that I don't have since I just moved back to Utah and got insurance. We sat and waited for a while until it was finally my turn. We walked back and I explained to the nurse that I have this horrible migraine that is probably not the most painful but the most uncomfortable that I have ever had. I told her where all of the pressure was, about the sensitivity to lights, the not so lovely crazy spotted disks that the light appeared to be which in turn made me nauseated, anxious and uncomfortable oh and that the room - was typically in a state of spinning. The only way I could explain it was - if you drank and got drunk there at times is a point where you are possibly about to blackout mode where the room is spinning the lights are flickering and you feel like you need to vomit or pass-out. Now here is my disclaimer, I can count on one hand how many times I have had alcoholic beverages in the last 3-4 years on my fingers....  I really don't drink but on an extremely rare stupid occasions cause I don't have time and money for that.  Oh yeah, the point! The nurse took my blood pressure and provided me with a one way ticket to the Emergency Room! I didn't get to pass go, I didn't get to go home. I was given the option to go in an ambulance (next door), be wheeled over in a wheelchair or for some reason I could move my car to the other parking lot if I agreed to go inside. Now the I don't have time for this but need my car me decided to take myself. Chandler and I walked out to my car and for a minute I thought Really!?!? Can't this wait till tomorrow? Maybe I'll hurry and run my kids home, or go get him dinner, after all I am a mom first. He said "NO" and demanded I simple back up, turn right and yes park 7 spaces down and walk in the dumb ER. 

We arrived, I told the clerk, three different nurses and some other dude what the scoop was. One nurse said that she was shocked that I was so in tune with my body and knew exactly what was going on and how to fix it but wouldn't take my own advice sooner. Then I explained the insurance card and she understood. Finally someone who understood the mania behind my madness!

This is the happy face when you have a hypertensive migraine.
I was taken back to a comfortable room, lights turned down and just handing out with my boy until the nurse came in and let me know that as I probably already was aware - I wasn't driving home. They asked who would take me home and I said my son of course! Then she asked for his license which is only an Oregon Learner Permit and said, No. So I did exactly what I didn't want to do. I called my Dad. Told him not to worry, I had a migraine and was hypertensive but asked if in a few hours if he could possibly go get my brother and come get me, my son and my car from the Emergency Room. Of course he wasn't thrilled that he was just finding out that I was in the ER but kindly agreed.
Mom of the year award goes to me! Since my kiddo hadn't had dinner I found $3.25 in my purse and sent him to the venting machine for dinner. My phone died before I got a picture of his beef jerky and peanut M&M's. Dinner of champions and well it was the best I could do under the circumstances. Next time - I'll order him pizza.
 Dad and Brandon came. I thanked them both. I encouraged Brandon to drive my car back home since I am staying in his basement temporarily and thanked my dad for carpooling him there and said that he and Chandler could be on their way. Brandon eventually was smart and went home to be with his wife and baby and sleep. Dad however didn't like the idea of me taking a cab home or walking and insisted on staying.  Eventually the doctor came in, talked for a few, sent me to get all sorts of imaging and tests done to see how much damage I had caused my liver, kidneys, and brain with the continued state of hypertension. They provided me with a couple of medications to help with the blood pressure and of course a lovely cocktail for my migraine and there I slept. Honestly at some point they came in and talked about tests, blah, blah, blah. Told me that my migraine was hypertension related and the continued hypertension was of course made worse by the pain from the migraine which in turn increases blood pressure. Well I had already told them all of that. So they provided me with medication to reduce the pain for the ongoing migraines that will continue to happen until I get the blood pressure under control; he also gave me some medication for the blood pressure and recommended I find a primary care doctor, follow up and try to stay out of the ER! 
Note to self: 149/93 is NOT Healthy
Just another reminder of what to avoid
Moral of the story. I knew exactly what was wrong with me. I knew what I needed to do to fix it. My only regret was not having already made an appointment for October 1st to get to a solution quicker. It's scary when you know that your health is at risk and then to know and see the signs of a big problem getting worse. The solution was already there, I knew what I needed to do but I simply put me on the side burner cause I had bigger fish to fry, other life "fires" to put out. 

So the good news - today I am okay! Tonight I received a call from my dad to check in, cause he worries. Of course he asked if I made my follow up appointment - um No. I had to go to work but I will. Life just takes over at times and when you are already generally overwhelmed and stressed adding something to the list of things I need to do but will generally put off is just too much. 

I do have to say that after the scare of yesterday, today I am simply more grateful. Grateful that today I got to wake up, that I have a job to go to and is a place that sadly relieves my personal stress. Sometimes it's hard. I am not one that likes to share the bad. I typically keep the bad and the ugly in this neat little box and put it aside. So here is me. Here is the ugly, messy, crazy but real side of me. This is the rambling unfiltered me which I prefer to keep safely in my head but this is also me taking a moment to acknowledge and accept me, they way I handle things and provide myself a way to get it out. Maybe a public feed isn't best but I have this AMAZING friend Beth Woolsey that has an amazing Blog where I have the opportunity to ready and feel normal, I have this safe place where I can hide and wave in the dark and not let others in. But because of her, I think that today it is okay to be me and to share the scary day I had. So we will see. So Beth - I know you are out there but today's blog is for you. It's my way of being okay today waving at you. 

Tasha Brooks

PS - Beth one day I will find the correct ways to Blog, reference, etc. but this is my start. We'll see how it goes.