Yesterday, I was minding my own business, albeit a bit "rushed", having gone to a morning doctor's appointment (routine) and slipped back home to change my clothes and make off to a meeting downtown. I wasn't feeling my "best", but also wasn't feeling my "worst" either, and I have just chalked up my generalized feelings of malaise, gastric upset, and "crappiness" to my recent shingles escapade and subsequent medication treatment for the malady. I mean screw Multiple Sclerosis...not EVERYTHING is because of MS.
So, I'm standing at my ironing board (no, I wasn't ironing sheets!) waiting for the iron to heat up so I can at least press out the wrinkles in my clothes (haven't found an appliance yet that will do the same thing for my face)...I had about an hour to get "pressed", in my car, find parking, and make my way to the Statewide committee meeting.
And as I'm standing there listening to the steam begin to heat in the ol' iron, I notice I can barely make out the word "Niagra" on the starch can beside the heating iron...this should have been my first and immediate clue to seek cover. A dizzy sensation began to seep into the front of my brain with a wave of nausea that came crashing up over my esophagus levee...suddenly, tossing lunch was on my mind and my vision seemed to be fading.
In my panic to remain upright (rather than just take a seat on the floor), I reached back and fumbled for the wooden chair I knew was just behind me...I think I got my hand on the chair before my world went dark. The next thing I have full recall of was looking UP at my ironing board from the floor with my neck crooked somewhat around the leg of the chair and a bit of a throb in the back of my head. It took me a bit of time to realize I had fainted...and hit my head on the chair.
I live alone...I have yet to train my cat to call 911 or do ANYTHING remotely helpful in times like these...I also have just enough medical training to question my conditions BEFORE summoning a neighborhood scene to my door. Nothing worse than having fire trucks lining the driveway. So, I sat/lay on my floor until I felt I could push myself up without leaving lunch tossed beside me.
There was no blood gushing or oozing from the back of my thick skull (and thank goodness it IS so thick and "dense")...just a goose egg popping up. Every other limb moved without discomfort and no bones were protruding in unlikely positions. Skeleton seemed intact. I hadn't taken the iron down with me and seared flesh from my body...it was still perched on the board hissing. I WAS however, quite dizzy, nauseated, feeling shaky, and my vision remained distorted...and of course, a bit disoriented and "concerned". Something wasn't right in my world.
Since I'm on (and have been on) steroids currently, my first thought was to check my blood sugar since steroids tend to create all kinds of havoc in this arena and I HAVE passed out before from glucose issues. Nope...B.S. (blood sugar, not bull s#!t) was 121. Only minuscule elevation and certainly not enough to cause fainting and ongoing gastric upset. Cardiac status seemed "OK", given the fact I WAS a bit panicked...I expected a tad elevation in my pulse. No trouble breathing...nothing to indicate a heart attack, a stroke, or really ANYTHING I "should" call 911 for. my rule of thumb about 911 is this (and for ME only): If I can personally DIAL the numbers 9-1-1, I probably don't need them.
I gathered myself up off the floor and made my way to the more comfortable couch...my head was throbbing, so I grabbed an ice pack which seemed to soothe the bump significantly. I pulled the imaginary cotton out of my mouth, sipped down some water, and proceeded to attempt to lay very still on my couch to regain my equilibrium. There was no way I would be making a meeting in an hour (by this time, in about 15 minutes) and probably no way I'd be finding my way in to work later in the afternoon...I called my employer to let them know.
Not long after my call to work, my doorbell rang...it WAS work (coworkers) coming to check on me. I was very crabby about having to get up off my couch to answer the door...they were very sweet. The "second opinion" decision was also reached that I would NOT be taking myself nor be carted off to an ER for evaluation. I was convinced the "something isn't right in my world" feeling had been brought on by the antiviral medication I had been forcing down my gullet FIVE TIMES A DAY to treat the shingles in combination with the oral Prednisone. This, Alex, was my final Jeopardy answer.
I spent the remainder of my day and evening laying quite still on my couch, ice pack on head, feeling extremely nervous/shaky and nauseated, somewhat confused, and trying to balance the tipping scale in my body that was leaning toward the "yucky" feeling...I eventually fell asleep and HAVE slept for many unaccounted hours. My cat woke me up around 10:00 this morning and I have to admit, "something" has returned to normal this morning...whatever normal is.
Yes, I DO have a bit of a headache/neck ache...probably had a very mild concussion, but otherwise my brain seems functioning status quo. I obviously STOPPED all the shingle medications yesterday (mainly out of plain forgetfulness and then stubbornness) and my stomach feels remarkably better...I'm also not going to continue the oral steroids. Don't need 'em at this point and was already down to the bottom dose of the taper. I AM practicing medicine without a license...but it's MY medicine and MY body and I DO think I know what is best at this point, thank you very much.
When the "cure" becomes worse than the "curse", it's time for a change...