Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 3 - Trouble Begins - New Year's Eve

Another great day in the snow.  But now I am starting to feel off.  Not totally sick, but definitely not well.  Not thinking too much of it, was it what I ate last night?  Too much to drink?  Typical stuff when on vacation.

My wife will be taking my daughter skiing today.  I drop them off and watching the boys meanwhile.  But something is not right, and the drive up the mountain is tough, and returning to pick them up off the mountain is difficult to the point of not being sure I can do it.

We are hosting company at our condo for New Year's Eve and by evening my earlier brain bleed effects are in full swing.  I am having bad nausea and making urgent trips to the rest room to vomit.

Spent most of the night in that chair, but came back enough to smile for the camera!
I am sick, bad.  But I wonder if I have the stomach flu brought on by food poisoning.

We have company over.  I struggle to participate.  Some food seems to settle the stomach.  We celebrate New Year's with good friends and family.  I even manage to get down a glass of champagne. :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 2 - Normal Day

Having hot coco that morning
Today is a normal snowy day up in Tahoe.  I shake off the total body numbness as the day wears on, and we do normal fun things like have hot coco for breakfast & visit our friends at their condo.  Tromp around in the snow.  Visit the snow lodge to check out skiing for our little girl.  Nap time with baby.

Later that evening we hit a typical casino-style buffet gig.  Its fun, this casino even has a play structure for kids, so all of our friends/families get together and hang out here.  I overdo it as usual playing with the kids, that I feel off at all I attribute to not sleeping much the night before.

Its an odd thing about this jewel in my brain.  It can freak out but I won't know it for a couple of days.  So odd.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 1 - The Rebellion Starts

Hindsight is 20/20.  Now I know this set of poor choices triggered my angioma to bleed.  It was the perfect storm.

My wife, kids, and I went up to Lake Tahoe to bring in the new year for 2011 with friends.  So we pack up the kids and go up.  Typical gig from the Bay Area 4-5 hour drive, and I am sure we landed around 8PM at which point I lug our many bags and suitcases out of the car while my wife sets up the kids in the condo.

Its cold and snowy.  Its supposed to be.  Kids on skis, building a snowman.  Perfect.

Now I love the snow, skiing, etc, and have not thought much about the fact that I get a little light headed and spacey when I go high altitude.  Its a typical part of high altitude sickness where the body is adjusting to the lower pressure of oxygen.  Normal recommendations are to take it easy the 1st day up the mountain, get a good night sleep, and so on.  Where we are parked in around Lake Tahoe its about 6200 ft elevation.

But what do I do?  I work all night until 4AM because the systems are melting down under record traffic.  Turns out lots of folks get new smart phones after Christmas, and business is booming on our mobile service.  The Android cluster in particular is melting down for no good reason, and I am going to figure out wtf is going on.

Its 4am, I am done, and I try to get a good nights rest for the few hours left of it by popping a benedryl.  But it does not work.  I am tossing and turning for the next several hours unable to sleep and with a terrible feeling that I cannot shake.  I am also making sure our little 6 mo. old baby boy is OK while my wife is sleeping with our other 2 kids in another room.

Come morning I wake up, if you can say this since I never really slept.  I am numb all over.  Not totally numb, but a faint numbness.  Its hard to explain.  But I didn't sleep so I figure that its normal.

I am sure sometime this past evening my angioma bled.  As you will read events unfold over the next days.  So lets recap some stupid things I did:
  • went high altitude
  • super stressed about work
  • workin, working super late
  • taking a benedryl to sleep
  • not sleeping
Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 0 - Backgrounder

Just a bit of backgrounder leading up to my 1st angioma bleed.  At the time I was working for a high growth mobile social networking startup in San Francisco.  This was December 2010.  Pressure was intense, the company fast paced, the days long and nights longer.

Having headaches had been a regular thing for me.  Borderline migraines, and often treated with higher doses of ibuprofen.  Having a little baby in the house (and other little kids besides), taking a benedryl as a sleep aid was also fairly common.  No stranger to headaches, I didn't think much of it, and figured it was work stress related and sleep deprivation.

I had had another period of chronic work stress and accompanying headaches during a rough 12-18 months prior when I had worked for another startup.   It had been just acquired and dealing with the integration madness that ensued as a manager, I found myself buried and found regular severe headaches a result.  It seems likely now that the seeds of rebellion were being sown already.

But I always figured the headaches were normal...