Monday, December 9, 2019

In Which Paco Earns His Keep

If there was ever a dog who has earned the (wo)man's best friend status, the Lassie rescuing Timmy from a well, the loyal friend who won't leave your side, that would be Paco.  I've long known that this was his personality, but discovered just how far he took his loyalty oath on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Apparently I had a seizure Sunday evening, while standing in the kitchen.  Of course Paco was right by my side, as always, and while I lay collapsed on the ground he barked his head off - but didn't leave me - until Jeff, who had been in his office with headphones on while playing a computer game, heard him.  I think it's an understatement to say that when Jeff rounded the corner into the kitchen and saw me laying there, eyes wide open but seeing nothing, body rigid, a bit of blood coming out of my mouth - well, he panicked.  He called 911 and after some dead air and more panic, finally connected, and within a few minutes help had arrived. 

I'm having a hard time reconciling what happened.  I'm still very confused.  I hadn't felt well for about 24 hours prior to the seizure - we'd spent the morning with the Renegades at Blue Baker and I was fine, but later that afternoon my stomach was upset and I ended up throwing up one time that evening, and just felt not great all day on Sunday.  Diane had texted me to see if I wanted to go to a movie with her on Monday, and my last reply to her was at 7:43; I can see by Jeff's phone records that he made his first 911 call at 7:45, so very little time went by before I was found and help was summoned.

I became aware of the commotion - Paco was barking like crazy, there were a lot of men in blue clothing in the kitchen, and one was in my face asking me really hard questions like what was my name and what day was it and what year was it.  I'd say I felt stupid that I couldn't answer these questions but I was too confused...nothing was making sense to me.  Where did all of these people come from and how did they get into my house?  I remember hearing someone say that I had a large bump on the back of my head and then they put me on a stretcher and brought me out to an ambulance.  They kept asking me questions and I just didn't have any answers for them...later on Jeff told me that it was the scariest thing to see me so blank.  Well, scariest after seeing me on the floor, that is.

They took me to the hospital and when they brought me out of the ambulance, Jeff was standing there - apparently he'd been in no shape to drive so they had him ride along in front.  There were more questions asked but mostly I was in confused shock...I'd just been texting with Diane and then my house was filled with people, what the what??
Jeff called Diane, who met him at the emergency room.  By the time I took this picture it was late and I felt bad that they were both just sitting around, but I was reminded that they kinda owed me (they didn't) for staying with them in the ER in Houston after the half marathon where we all had food poisoning.

They sent me for a CT scan right away, which didn't show any brain bleeding, just the soft tissue swelling where I'd hit my head when I fell.  Blood work showed an unusually low potassium count so once I was admitted, I got to enjoy four bags of potassium via IV overnight - and that's when I also learned that potassium hurts like hell to go through your veins.  Not fun.  Around 6:00 am I was taken for an MRI where everything was OK except for the bump.  A few hours later I had an EEG, where they put electrodes all over my head and then did a series of tests with bright lights, eye movement, and rapid breathing.
So many electrodes!  This took a while to get set up.

I must have failed the EEG because it showed "seizure activity" - which, really?  After going over my history and medications, the ER doctor's thoughts were that this might have been caused by a couple of medications that I'd been taking.  One was Wellbutrin, an antidepressant that lists seizures as a side effect.  You guys are aware that this year has been a crap one for me since April, when I herniated my disc at L3 and lost running and working out and lived with horrible pain for months...hence the depression and medication.

Along with the Wellbutrin, I was also taking Gabapentin for nerve pain.  Turns out it was originally an anti-epileptic medication although that's not why I was taking it; but it may have been unknowingly keeping me from having a Wellbutrin-induced seizure all this time.   My neurosurgeon said I could stop taking it after back surgery, and I did a very slow taper off of it, finishing just over a week before I had the seizure.  Maybe when I got that medicine out of my system, it allowed the other one free reign to wreak havoc on my system.  That's the current train of thought, anyway.

I was released nearly 24 hours after I'd been brought to the ER, with a prescription for an anti-seizure medicine, instructions to stop taking the Wellbutrin, a referral to neurology, and also instructions to avoid intense light stimuli, which probably wouldn't have been such a big deal had we not been days away from our long-planned trip to Universal Studios Orlando, home of intense light stimuli.  I already knew that I'd have to be careful with choosing rides that didn't slam me around so I wouldn't hurt my back, but now there's an issue with lights?  Geez.

Getting back to Paco, poor dog - when Jeff finally arrived home sometime after midnight, he said Paco ran all over the house looking for me.  Then he slept on Jeff for the rest of the night.  But the funny thing is that when I finally came home the next evening, he greeted me but then wouldn't stay near me.  I know he was traumatized.  It took him a full night before he decided he could stand to sleep next to me.  We were all exhausted.

I recovered as much as possible over Tuesday and Wednesday, and then we flew out to North Carolina very early on Thursday (Thanksgiving) morning.  At Jeff's request I wore my Road ID band, just in case something happened while I was away from him.  I'm really glad we still went on our vacation because have I mentioned how much of a crap year this has been?  That said, parts of the trip were rough for a few reasons.  When I fell and hit my head during the seizure, I got a pretty bad concussion, which brought about a host of issues - I'd be doing OK and then suddenly lose all of my energy and feel so tired that I could barely walk - it felt like I was trudging through quicksand.  In the months leading up to this trip, pre-seizure, Jeff and the kadults had mentioned renting a wheelchair so I wouldn't have to expend too much energy walking around the park - heck, just from where you go through security to the park entrance is nearly half a mile, and then it's nearly another half a mile to Diagon Alley.  But I refused - I'd felt like such an invalid all year that I didn't want to give in to being wheeled around Universal Studios.  Turns out that when the fatigue hit me, I'd have gladly taken a wheelchair ride.

I had been so shocked at having had a seizure that I didn't focus enough on what a concussion does to your body.  After a nap I'd be good to go for another few hours, but once again, fatigue would hit and I'd be done.  I was, and still am, weirdly overemotional which apparently is another part of having a concussion.  Oh, and my eyes randomly dilated nearly a week after the seizure, which was super painful.  I'd brought along my darkest sunglasses but even wearing them wasn't enough to keep my eyes from hurting when I was outside.  That lasted for about five days.  I had posted about the incident on Facebook, along with some pictures at the park, and heard from a former childhood neighbor who'd also recently had a concussion; she gave me some good advice and helped me to stop feeling so bad about feeling so bad.

This week will be interesting - I have a post-ER follow up visit with my regular doctor this morning, and then tomorrow I have an appointment with a neurologist.  At the moment I am not allowed to drive; I'm not sure how long that restriction will be in place but considering how the seizure happened with no warning, I'm OK with not driving just in case.  Honestly, I'm beyond horrified that this happened the day after I held baby Aiden for hours at Blue Baker - the idea that I might have gone down while holding him makes me cry just thinking about it.  I'm hoping to go back to work, brain-willing; luckily Jeff's schedule is loose enough that he can drive me there and take his lunch when I'm ready to go home.  All I can say is, can we just skip ahead to 2020 already?  I'm done with 2019.

19 comments:

  1. So glad you are alright. Having a seizure out of the blue like that must have been really scary! I will say a prayer for you that you will be OK.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, Shelley. I am so sorry. I had no idea Wellbutrin could cause seizures. What a terrible year you've had. It has to get better. It does. I wish I was close by so I could help you or at least hug you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sweet Mercy! I am so sorry for this proverbial "frosting" on the cake of 2019. I hope you are feeling better this week and I'm saying extra prayers for you, Jeff and Paco. My Mom and her Granny Prayer-Warriors are on it, too.

    2020 will be a cinnamon roll....no more cake. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am so sorry. The whole ordeal sounds terrifying. I am sending you my strongest "2020 is going to be so much better" vibes. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for posting this - I've been thinking about you since I saw that FB post. I'm glad you could still have your trip with the kadults as planned, but man, that's some serious stuff. Thank goodness for Paco getting Jeff's attention right away! I'm so glad that you're okay. That must have been so scary for all of you.

    I hope the theory that Wellbutrin caused the seizure is correct and it really was nothing more than that. And I really hope this is it for your crap year. 2020 HAS to be better, right?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well, I'm glad you got to go on your vacation, but what a trauma that was. And yes, I hope 2020 will be a stellar year for you!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. That is pretty scary. I'm glad you're doing ok and on the road to recovery

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am so sorry this happened to you! How scary and honestly you have been through enough this year without throwing this into the mix. Sending you healing, positive thoughts!

    ReplyDelete
  9. OMG, what a crazy and scary story. Glad you were still able to go in the trip. I am so hoping that 2020 is trouble-free for you. Hugs to you and pets to the wonder dog, Paco.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well, that is just too much fun and excitement for you, Jeff and especially Paco, right? Remember when you got disc pitchers for your herniated disk, and I suggested plates for a dental plate - I'm just not sure what Fiestaware goes with a seizure...? Maybe a spoon rest for all the rest you should probably be getting to heal up from this concussion? Crossing fingers that the medication adjustments take care of everything!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Holy Cow! I am so sorry for all that has happened to you, and so thankful you are ok. Praying for a better year to come and a complete and full recovery! Big (gentle) hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Good heavens, Girl! Your medical shit makes mine look like a walk in the park. I am praying that you get steadily better and back to normal. xxoo

    ReplyDelete
  13. You are so fortunate that Jeff was at home when this happened. I'm so sorry you are going through all this medical crap. 2020 has to be better, right?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Holy cow that is so scary! :( I feel so bad for you Shelley. You were getting better and it was time for your fun vacation, not this bs :( What a sh*t year. We do need 2020 to get here and be awesome for you. Eff 2019.

    Being in the hospital for so long and trying to figure this out and now dealing with the concussion side effects sounds so painful and frustrating. I hope you are better as quickly as you can be. Hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, how scary...for all of you! I hope it was just a medication issue and everything is fine now. You're right, 2019 has sucked all around. Give poor, brave Paco a head pat for making sure your husband knew something was wrong!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Shelley - so glad that Paco was there! And of course Jeff too! Good that the docs figured out it was the Gabapentin/Wellbutrin side effect deal so quickly too. Looking forward to a great 2020 for you, as 2019 is winding down and probably better left on the shelf with that nasty elf! Thinking of you!! Hugs! Chris

    ReplyDelete
  17. Good NIGHT, Shelley! Ack! It definitely sounds like it was the meds! Side effects from new meds are the WORST. I'm crossing my fingers that 2020 will be a MUCH BETTER YEAR for you by leaps and bounds!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I started reading and smiled thinking another fabulous Paco story was coming our way... (ok it was a fabulous pack story anyway)...but heart stopped when I found out hpw you found out how fabulous he really is!

    Girl...this is not fair!!! Haven’t you been through enough? Hugs to you! You have gone through this year with a grace that not many people could keep!!!

    Your in my thoughts and prayers....and dude...2020 has GOt to be your year!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I just now read this...oh Shelley, I am so sorry! I will be praying for your recovery and that this isn't more serious than changing or getting off certain medications. Thinking of you and glad Paco was there to alert Jeff. Wow.

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you and read each and every comment! Comments on older posts are moderated, so they won't show up right away - sorry to my real readers, but spammers love to hit old posts, so this is necessary.