I was spending a lazy Sunday with Mrs. BrokenPancreas, just relaxing and not doing much of anything. Just before 4pm I felt like some one hit me in the back of my head with a bat and kept repeating the action every half second or so.
I immediately dropped to the floor and put my hands to my head– squeezing, trying to kill the pain. When that didn’t work I tried pressing my head through the floor, also to no avail.
At this point the pain was getting worse (though I didn’t think that was possible). Mrs. BP called an ambulance.
The fire department showed up first and carried/ walked me down the stairs to my front door where a stretcher was waiting.
That is when I learned how many cracks are in the roads of Boston. When every one feels like a hammer, you notice even the small ones.
When I got to the emergency room there were so many lights and beeps I thought my head would explode. I think the nurses could see my head physically pulsing and were kind enough to put me in a “quiet” corner.
When there is any concern of head trauma in the ER things move really fast. Nurses started drawing blood. I lost count after they took the 22nd vial.
Then came the drugs. I was started on something to control nausea. I wasn’t nauseas (yet) but the morphine they were about to give me would fix that.
Morphine made me feel worse. They tried out a bunch of other drugs and kept asking me to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10. The answer I kept giving was 11. Eventually we figured out that intervenes caffeine dulled he pain AND made it really hard to sit still which was a problem for the next step.
Time for a CT scan. This part was actually quite pleasant. My head was squeezed between two bolsters. I fell asleep for part of the scan.
Back to my ER cubicle.
Waiting for results.
The good news: the CT scan was clear.
The bad news: time for a lumbar puncture (aka: spinal tap or LP).
I was hoping for this and dreading it.
Hoping because it means my CT scan is clear, and I’m one step closer to still being healthy.
Dreading because, well spinal taps are no fun.
The Dr. who performed the LP told me I had great anatomy so the LP would be on the easier side. I was skeptical. She was telling the truth. The worst part was the Novocain used to numb the area. That and the idea of a huge needle in my back. The area is still a bit bruised, but I am no worse for the wear.
More waiting for results.
More good news. The LP is clear!
Now what. I’ve been tested every way they know how and nothing seems to be wrong with me.
More drugs. More waiting.
My headache was finally gone.
Finally some sleep at 1 am.
I woke up with a shock at 5 am. Headache was back and worse then before. Back to an 11+.
I paged the nurse.
Writhing in pain, all but screaming and the nurse said to me, “You’ve been fine all night.”
Brilliant deduction. Thanks for pointing that out. (To be fair, all the Dr.s and nurses in the hospital were more than helpful and friendly except this one.)
More IV caffeine was ordered. It killed the pain and my ability to sleep.
At around 11 am (Monday) I was sent home with more questions than answers and directions to see my PCP.
At this point I felt fine so around 3 pm I decided to get a little work done. I went upstairs into my home office that also houses my closet (that becomes important soon).
Two hours later almost to the minute, BANG! My headache was back. I took the prescribed drugs which did nothing. Mrs. BP called the on-call Dr. and brought me more drugs. They didn’t help.
I keep trying to figure out what I changed in my life that would cause the worst pain I have ever felt. The only thing I can come up with is the I bought mothballs for my closet (living in a 110 year old house has its drawbacks).
I asked Mrs. BP to get them out of the house and open all the windows. She also found the package with a warning label. “May cause mild headache.”
There is nothing mild about this. I promise.
As we aired out the house I sat outside, in the cold, wrapped in blankets to get some fresh air.
After a few minutes I felt a hint of relief.
Tuesday morning I went to cheek in with my PCP, Dr. BP, who was baffled with all the great results from all the tests I was given in the hospital. After talking over the events of the past few days, he agreed that the mothballs COULD be the cause.
Directions: go home, relax and if symptoms return, come back and we (Dr. BP and I) will keep looking for a cause.
I got home, with high blood sugar, went into my aired out and cold office, and what do I find in the middle of the floor?
One dead moth, laying lifeless, likely with a headache.
UPDATE: 2 weeks later I still have a headache in the background. Going to neurologist today.