This particular tale of woe has nothing to do with the dogs, but since this is a blog about dogs, I will be sprinkling a few cute pics in just to keep you interested. If it gets to the point there are just too many words, page down to the video. You might get a chuckle.
Here’s the thing: occasionally, and by occasionally, I mean maybe once or twice a summer, sometimes more, sometimes less, I have these, for lack of a better word, attacks. They have only ever happened in summer.
First I get the far away headache, followed by amoebas floating before my eyes. Then comes the more severe headache, the severe dizziness, and of course, for fun, let’s add in the extreme nausea. This part is a little strange, but hey, why not throw it all out there: The dizziness changes between ‘can’t stand up’ dizzy to, kid you not, the sensation that I’m shrinking (I just tell it like I feel it). I’m not necessarily hot when this all happens, but I have an overwhelming craving to be cold. And yet even more freaky, after an hour or so huddled in a fetal position, in a cold location – BAM! – It’s as if nothing ever happened.
Of course there are variations, but most of the time, because it always happens at work, I simply curl up in the back seat of my truck, with the AC blasting, wait it out, and then go back to work.
Once, it happened when I was working with a crew. The guys were sufficiently alarmed, and I was dragged to an ER where I was promptly diagnosed, without any tests whatsoever mind you, as being hysterical, a Valium prescription written and I was sent on my way. I never filled that prescription.
Another time, the ‘attack’ seemed worse than usual. I had to call Crabby to come get me and take me home.
The one common denominator in all of these attacks: Lay down, stay cold, wait it out, and maybe an hour later – BAM! As if nothing ever happened.
Well, it happened again yesterday. It was the same, but different. That it happened outside of summer – well that’s just new.
There I was, fixing an irrigation valve, when suddenly and without warning, I started feeling dizzy. I kept at it, when – BAM! – it was as if someone hit me on the side of the head with a sledge-hammer. I had migraines when I was younger, so I know what the real deal is, and honestly, this wasn’t one of them. But it was sure darned close! If that wasn’t bad enough, the stomach, with equal suddenness, began lurching, and not in a good way. Curiously, the amoebas didn’t come until later.
Been there, done that before, and the property owner was not home. The back lawn was pretty cool and fluffy, so that’s where I went to lay down, in a nice cold shady spot. The severity of the headache had me pretty tense, and my stomach was somewhere between seriously painful, burning hunger and the feeling that projectile vomiting was on the near horizon. In other words, this was shaping up to be a bad one. This was going to be #3 of all the attacks I’ve had that I was unable to work through.
After slowly getting up, and doing some self diagnostics as to my ability to drive, I decided I could make a run for it to get home. The drive was going very well, until, suddenly, and without warning, there goes the stomach – and not in a place where I could hide it in the bushes. Just as suddenly came the realization I could go no further safely, driving a truck and towing a 16 foot trailer.
Alas, in front of me: A Carls Jr./Convenience Store. The perfect location to park and wait it out, and more importantly, a bathroom with cool running water.
I parked, went into the Ladies Room, started running the water at the sink, fell to my knees and then had to crawl to the handicapped stall. There was nothing left in my stomach to lose, but it didn’t mean my body didn’t try. And when my stomach settled, I can’t even begin to describe the feeling of exhaustion. Yup, I went right down on the floor, the sweet, blessedly cold floor, in the handicapped stall, in a convenience store bathroom. (There was a very hot, soapy shower, that may or may not have involved bleach later – so I think I might survive anything that I have picked up from the floor!)
Here’s how this should have worked out from that point:
The handicapped stall was large. Therefore, I was able to curl up far enough away from the door or the side wall for anyone to see me. Just be quiet, wait it out, like the other attacks, for it too shall pass. If it didn’t, I could calmly call Crabby to come get me, he would call me when he arrived, I would meet him at the Ladies Room door, he would help me to the truck, we would go home, the angels would sing.
But this is 2014, and we are Run A Muck Ranch. As you know, 2014 does not like us.
When the condition got worse, not better, I called Crabby to come get me. My head was in the lower level migraine range – not something I would wish on anyone, my speech was slurring, and for the life of me, I couldn’t even get up on an elbow.
I did not realize someone else had entered the Ladies Room and heard my telephone conversation with Crabby. Apparently that same individual fled the Ladies Room and sounded the alarm at the cash register. This lead to a customer and a convenience store worker standing on the adjoining stall toilet to break into the stall I was in.
As I was attempting to assure people my husband was on the way to get me, I received a call from Crabby. We’ve had a cracked tail light on the Ranger for maybe a decade with no issues, but apparently on that particular day at that particular time, Scottsdale PD decided it would be just groovy to pull Crabby over on it.
I relayed Crabby’s situation and location to the worried onlookers, who by this time included not just the 2 ladies standing on the adjoining toilet, but 2 male Carl’s Jr. employees just standing outside the stall door, staring at me. Too many people, in too small a space, during a situation where I was so embarrassed, if I could have flushed myself down the toilet, I would have!
I assure you, readers, I would have given anything for the ability to have gotten off that floor, but I could barely move. It took all my strength just to get into the sitting position. The mind was crystal clear, but I couldn’t get the body parts to cooperate, and I was losing further the ability to communicate.
Then came the Storm Troopers: not 1, not 2, but 6 (six) firemen, all decked out for a 5 alarm fire. Yup, someone did the ole’ 911 on me. Crabby arrived seconds later. (As an aside here, if not for being pulled over and having his pertinents reviewed by the police officer, Crabby would have arrived before the Fire Department, we would have made it home, and the angels would have sung.)
Why it was necessary to send an entire Engine is beyond me. Why the population of the entire Engine had to enter the Ladies Room – clueless.
Apparently, the arrival of the entire Station House alarmed me a little, and in my compromised state, I started to shake, just a touch (see video below for clarification). God help the female who might shake some as it is a clear indication she is having an anxiety attack!
Over and over I was asked if I had chest pains, over and over I said no, though the head – it was getting ready to explode at that point. I wistfully thought about the TV depiction of rescue personnel – kind, caring and soothing, and thought about how different it was from real life – The one who did all the talking – I felt like I was in danger of being arrested. Maybe he needs a dog in his life… that might mellow him a little.
The scary part of all this – my mind was clear as a bell, but I couldn’t get the words to come out or the body parts to do what I wanted them to. Trust me when I tell you this: An actual migraine would be preferred.
As soon as the Hysterical Card was laid on me, however, RAGE gave me the strength to overcome enough to stand and walk out with Crabby. Feeding on that very same rage, I think I was quite articulate in several statements using language that would make a sailor blush as we were making our way to the truck.
We made it home safe, and against Crabby’s wishes, my preferred collapsing location was the bedroom floor rather than the bed.
A little while later, I was stirred from my unconscious state by the bedroom door being nearly ripped from the hinges. The kids wanted in BADLY! I had no idea how long I had been home, so at first I was touched by the worry. Turns out, I was out for an hour and half, and we were getting precariously close to supper time. The thought of having Crabby feed them was just too big a risk for the kids to take, so they did the only thing they could do to insure the proper supper routine, and their very survival: Wake Mom from the dead.
Crabby had been feverishly searching the net for potential diagnoses, as well as making calls to the insurance company nurses. Mini-strokes, some kind of diabetic seizure and complications relating to hypo tension were discussed.
The stroke part freaked me out more than little, but the more I think about it, the more I think it couldn’t be the case. Remember, this has happened before, just not this bad. If these were mini strokes, I would have already had a full-blown one by now.
I would have thought if diabetes were an issue, it would have been diagnosed years ago.
If I had to guess anything, I would go hypo tension. My blood pressure is so low, I’m barely alive. It really hasn’t been an issue, except when I stand up too fast, lay with my head horizontal to my body, lay with my head lower than my body, ride as a passenger in a car, plane, boat, stand on a dock, snorkel, go on amusement park rides, do anything where my head is down, you know, things I wouldn’t do ‘normally’.
Another thought: I actually had to take some layers off when I was fixing that valve – and it was only in the 70’s. I was sweating buckets. Maybe I just dehydrated, and it spiraled out of control from there.
Many, many years ago, I tried to get medical help for a problem. I was told to get therapy. The problem became problem(s). I tried to get help again, same result. Over and over. Not a single diagnostic test ever done. Finally the problems(s) (yes, more ‘s’s) got so bad I couldn’t function, so I jumped onto WebMD and looked for common health issues that would cause doctors to look in the areas I was showing symptoms. Armed with symptoms I didn’t have, I marched into yet another doctor’s office. Sure enough, the common problems, I didn’t have, but they did notice problems in adjacent areas – you know, the places I actually had symptoms. I spent the next several months undergoing 11 surgeries and procedures to fix the medical issues I had previously hallucinated, working with specialists who you could only reach by referral. The specialists knew my issues weren’t new, and as a result, because I didn’t seek help sooner – I should really get therapy since ‘obviously’ I was not of a mental state to take care of myself.
Perhaps the previous paragraph would lead the reader to better understand the ‘rage’ I described earlier when the firemen immediately went to the darkside????
I don’t have a primary care doctor – I’ll give you 3 guesses why I avoid all contact with medical care providers. Chances are, your first guess is correct. Where the first group of ‘doctors’ believed me to be a hypochondriac, the second batch believed be to be a sadist with a death wish.
Unless I absolutely can not palliate the condition myself (i.e. the recent corneal tear), and it affects my ability to work, I don’t even try. When I do try, THAT is when I wish I had filled some of the many sedative prescriptions offered to me back when I believed health care was possible.
I made several calls today trying to get an appointment with any doctor. Though I’m really not buying the stroke idea, better to be safe than sorry. Unfortunately, making an appointment with a doctor anymore involves leaving a message in the “Appointment Overflow Voicemail”, stating your symptoms. Apparently doctors pick and choose who they want to treat now. So far no return calls. I’ll try a few more tomorrow. If I never do get checked out, I can’t be blamed for not trying!
Until then, I have a brandy new Medical Crazy Card, already punched by the Firemen.