Friday, January 28, 2011

One Month Anniversary - Appt with Neurologist

I have an appointment with a neurologist at Palo Alto Medical Foundation.   I don't have a referral and get the appointment pretty quickly a few days before.

My lingering symptoms of my bleed a month ago are some numbness in my left foot and a disorientation like vertigo when I jump and run.  Its like my body cannot keep up with me when I move in terms of where it thinks I am.

Its pretty puzzling to the neurologist, I generally check out, and I get the MRI.  Having my father being a doctor recommending this helps.  I am pretty aggressive about getting this quickly as I have to make a go/no-go decision in the next few days about cutting over to my new employer's insurance plan.  As an aside I have been a consultant for this startup, not a full time employee.  Full time employment formerly starts in February when it comes to benefits though I have been hitting full time hours as a consultant.

I get the MRI the same day even though my case is tagged non-urgent.   God bless America, where private insurance can you get the best of care quickly!

I am pretty sure that the MRI is ordered without contrast as its a routine MRI.  However in the middle of it, the technician injects me with contrast.  I chat them up, asking whether this is typical and am only told "they saw something they want to get a better look at".   Great I'm thinking.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 16-18 - Trip to Los Angeles

Been looking forward to visiting my family down in Los Angeles after the holidays.  I am still somewhat numb, but well enough to drive some but my wife and I share this duty.  I even manage a little ice skating with the kids (ice needs to be artificial in LA, its an indoor ice-skating rink).

Discussing my condition with my dad, he presses upon me and reiterates that this sounds like some kind of stroke.  The numbness simply does not add up to anything that can be reasonably explained. But I'm 35!  I need to go see a neurologist and get an MRI ordered right away.  He is willing to take me in immediately but I suggest that I can handle it when I get back home.

Before we leave L.A. we have chocolate cupcakes at my mom's house.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 13 - Still Cannot Drive

Still recovering.  I try to get on the road to drive into work in SF an hour away.  I can almost manage it but when I turn my head too quickly I get a twinge of vertigo.  I make the call after a few minutes to abort and go back home, its just not safe.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 5 - Working - Not Driving

Did I mention that while all this is going on, dealing with the after effects of my small brain hemorrhage, I am still working?  At least I have been on call to keep systems alive.  This is what I write to my colleagues that are expecting me to show up for the usual Monday meeting:

I will not be coming on site tomorrow but should be dialing in fine
for at least all hands if not scrum also.

I have a nice case of Vertigo, acquired likely as a decent bout of
altitude sickness (never heard of this until having it!).  Anyway operating
heavy machinery now out of the question, but can still be minimally
productive with being on calls, on-call, etc.  Expecting to improve as week
goes on and today much better than yesterday.

So I could sit at a computer.  That's good at least.  But drive a car?  Forgetaboutit.  Fortunately the anti-nausea medication seemed to be helping and after a couple of days I no longer needed to be taking it to seem halfway normal.  The numbness is fading.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 4 - New Year's Day - I am Toast

New Year's Day comes.  I am sick.  The room is spinning. I vomit in the bath room time and again.  I am numb on some parts of the left side of my body.  Its worst when I lie down.  Resting while sitting up does not seem to hurt so much.

At least the kids are out building a snowman
But its vacation dammit, and the kids have to go out in the snow to make a snow man.  Fortunately my friend is coming over with his son (our sons are best friends) and they make a snowman and my wife and he have the kids sled down the hill.  I am obviously not able to participate.  This sucks.  I am not as bad as earlier in the morning, but I dare not walk around.

Mean while I am holding our 6 mo. old since someone has to watch him.  Its a painful sacrifice.  I'm terribly nauseous, each minute that passes drags excruciatingly by, and I'm counting the seconds at times.

But WTF is happening to me?  A bad flu I speculate.  Some bizarre case of altitude sickness with a case of vertigo?  The problem is that this new numbness I have on my scalp, back, left side of my body does not add up.

At this point I think the mountain is doing me in.  We pack up somehow, I even load some things in the car.  Its brutal and I cannot quite handle walking let alone moving bags and suit cases into the car but I do it anyway.

 I call up my father who is a doctor, and while he urges me to stay put I insist on getting off the mountain.  He orders me anti-nausea medication at the local pharmacy and we pick it up while driving out of Tahoe.  If it were not for the medication I would not be able to suffer the ride down the hill with my wife at the wheel.  I am passed out most of the time, its too painful to be coherent, and thankfully the anti-nausea medication has a bonus of making me drowsy.

We make it home.