I am so glad to be home. I'll bet you all wondered where I've been. Thursday afternoon I was at work and all of a sudden I was sitting at my computer and I lost my part of my field of vision on the right side. As in, half of my computer screen was gone. I looked at my boss who came in my office-he only had half a face. Not good. I sat there for a minute, ok well like 20 minutes, to see if it went away. I called DH, told him something was wrong and he may have to come get me. Only he could barely hear any of the conversation. Something was wrong with our cell phones or cell phone provider. After about three broken calls, I can hear him yelling at me "Just tell me what you want me to do!" I yelled to him, "Come get me!" and I knew he got it. So of course I had driven myself to work that day, I knew I couldn't see to drive home. DH had the day off, so he had to drive the 40 minutes to my work to get me. A co-worker had one of those glucose meters and she insisted she check my blood sugar. I was reluctant, because the last time the hospital did it, they hurt me bad and left a hole in my finger for three days! She said her stuff was way better, and it didn't even hurt. My sugar was 100, perfectly normal. She said maybe it was falling fast or something, so I ate a banana and retested just before DH got there. 133, still ok. I called the OB, they said to go straight to L&D, it was serious. Okay, okay. So off we went. Little did I know I wouldn't be out of there till Saturday night.
We arrived at the ER entrance, walked to the window, and were promptly escorted by wheelchair up to L&D, just as before. (Talk about fast service when you're pregnant! Had I not been pregnant and had like sawed off my hand or something we would have been sitting there for hours waiting to be seen!) Same L&D triage area as before, luckily I did not have the mean doctor I had last time. I explained the whole shabang to them. Yes, I checked my blood sugar, gave them the times and numbers (so they wouldn't do it again!), they checked my blood pressure, and it was normal, put baby on the monitors (she was totally fine, thank goodness!), and had a doctor in to see me in like 5 minutes. No, it wasn't my eye, I knew that because if I covered my right eye and just used my left, the right area of my field of vision was still gone. I knew it was a brain problem, not an eye problem.
He called my doctor and the decision was made very quickly to admit me. What? I have to stay here? I started bawling uncontrollably. How would we ever afford this? I was more concerned over the lack of financial coverage than my health. But I will explain that in a later post.
So I end up in a room on the antepartum wing, in the high risk section. (I don't even know what antepartum is!) I got lovely neurochecks every few hours. They shine lights in your eyes, check pulses in hands and feet, check reflexes, etc. This gets really old after about twenty million times. (I know, I know, they have to do it.) Baby is monitored every few hours, she doesn't show any signs of stress. After I am there for about 2 hours, I did get a small headache, probably from being all stressed out and upset. But otherwise nothing other than the loss of vision. No bleeding, cramping, contractions, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, nothing. Doctors kept coming in to see how my vision was. At some point that night, MY OB, Dr. N who I love came in and said they were waiting for the neurologist to decide what to do. I assumed they were getting a hold of MY neurologist I have seen previously for my migraines.
The very first nurse I had, I made it very clear to her that needles cause me lots of pain, I did not want an IV or any blood work unless it was absolutely necessary. I told her I have my EMLA cream with me, and if she knows I need blood work, to please tell me at least an hour before they do it, so I can put my cream on and it won't be so bad. A few hours after that conversation, she came in and said "its time!" all cheery and with the rubber strap they use to tie your arm up to make your veins pump up. A moment of panic set in, then I realized she just wanted to see where my veins were so she could put the cream on, she wasn't coming to poke me just yet. She listened. She hadn't forgotten. Thank goodness. She got me all set, after she realized I do this all the time, its routine for me to put it on myself and cover with the tagaderm. She said she would be back in an hour to draw blood for the labs they had ordered, but there was no need for an IV or anything else. Whew. Thank you, nice nurse.
DH called in to work, OK he tried to call in to work. They would not answer the phone! They knew it was him and he was calling off! Rotten people. He called his bosses, and they wouldn't answer either. Finally the guy on first shift called back (DH figured they were all having lunch together and saw he tried calling all of them multiple times, so maybe it was important and they better call back). Anyways DH finally tells them he will not be in on Friday or Saturday because I am in the hospital and he is not leaving me. I told DH I would be fine, and we couldn't afford for him to miss work too, be he insisted this was too important and he was really worried.
I did get a late dinner tray about 7:30. Let's say I now know to take my own supply of food for when I give birth. The food at this hospital is awful! There was half a plate of some faded green beans, a scoop of very instant potatoes and gravy, and a ball of stuffing (?) with more brown gravy poured over it. The paper said there was turkey too?! I never found any turkey under that stuff. There was milk, coffee, and a white roll. Wonderful-I don't drink coffee, am lactose intolerant, and don't eat white bread. I was starving by then, so I ate that white roll, half of the technicolor green beans, and the reconstituted potatoes. I hated to see what breakfast would consist of. (Let me guess-powdered reconstituted eggs?)
I sent DH home to get my contact stuff and some shower items, my Snapple peach iced tea, some granola bars, and extra underwear and socks. He made it quick and returned in under an hour with a duffel bag full of comforts and my own fluffy pillow. (Did I mention the one on my hospital bed was about 1 1/2 inches thick and made of plastic?) He also brought Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and A Bug's Life for us to watch. On the VHS player in the room. Yes, you read that right VHS. We only own a few tapes, so DH did his best! DH said it was like our own cheap hotel room! Yeah, except we weren't there by choice! I tossed and turned all evening and all night. DH slept on a very uncomfortable chair that pulled out and laid flat. The nurses were very nice and gave him lots of (flat) pillows and blankets and tried to make him as comfortable as possible. In fact ALL of the nurses and staff were super nice and friendly the whole time we were there. Not one bad apple. Most of my vision loss had returned by 10pm that night. So it lasted about 7 hours.
My neurologist came in finally at about 11am Friday morning. He told me about the tests he wanted to run to rule things out, which would take most of the day. He was not sure about the cause of my vision loss, but to have no migraine and to have such a large significant portion of my vision gone for so long was something they had to thoroughly check out. He said it may be from a type of small clot in my neck or brain that went away on its own and tests would not pick up anyways, it could be a migraine even though my head was not in excruciating pain, or I could have a large clot or bleeding which would show up on tests.
By then my dad and my MIL had arrived to check on me. (Really, I'm fine. I'm not dying, I don't need everyone to come up to the hospital.) The first test up was an ultrasound/ecocardiogram of my heart. That did not take long at all and within a half hour of my visitors arriving, a lady came into my room with a large machine for the test. I had one over 10 years ago, but I guess I forgot the details. I had my visitors leave since I didn't want my bare chest exposed to the world, the tech let DH stay though. The test was SO uncomfortable. Okay, truthfully it was painful. The in the middle of the chest part was fine. Then she had to look at my heart from the underside of my left boob. My very pregnant sore boob. She pushed so hard on my bony ribs I thought for sure they were going to break. Tears were rolling down my face, I barely could get out "It hurts, it hurts!" in a gasping voice. She said "I know, but I have to get in between your ribs to get the last of the pictures." I know she wasn't trying to hurt me, but ugh. I hope I never have to have that done again.
That one was over just in time for someone to arrive with a wheel chair to take me to x-ray. X-ray? What do I need an x-ray of? Well...the MRI place called and they are being paranoid about making sure you are free of metal implants, etc so they want an x-ray of your head before they will do the MRI. I already told these people I have no metal in my head but apparently my word isn't good enough and I apparently don't know what things doctors have or have not put in me, so they want to put me more in debt and add an unnecessary x-ray to the tab. Whatever. They take me to do my head x-ray, while DH tags along and waits in the hallway. They said they didn't do many head x-rays, henceforth it took forever and they kept re-taking them to get it just right. From there I went to the non-invasive vascular lab and had a relatively quick and painless ultrasound of my neck arteries and such checking for blockages, which the tech said there were none. DH got to sit with me for that one. Oh-and the x-ray showed no metal in my head-told ya so, crazy people.
I came back, ate my pathetic lunch, and they said an ambulance was on its way to pick me up and take me to the MRI place. (I guess the hospital doesn't have one in house, they ship you out to a free standing center.) We waited and waited and they never came. A nurse finally came in and explained there was some mix up and they were filled for the day and I now had to wait till Saturday for the MRI. Great, another day in prison. At least no more tests for the day. I was SO tired. My mom came up for a while and was there for about an hour or so, then another lady came to the door with a HUGE machine on wheels and said "Hi, I'm here for your EEG." Oh, no one told me I was getting that. Which, I didn't care, because I had that test about 10 years ago too, and remember it was easy. The machine took up so much of the room that my mom left so they could rearrange my bed for the test. DH stayed by my side during the hour or so I had to sit still. For those of you that don't know, this is the test where they glue (yes, actual glue) about 22 wires to carefully measured spots on your forehead and scalp and measure brain waves. There was also a flashing strobe light for at least half of the time (I guess to induce seizures if you are susceptible?!). I don't remember that strobe light part from 10 years ago, but I know things have changed.
I only had a few spots of missing vision all day on Friday, but nothing major like Thursday. My dad came back up to sit with me and give DH a break to go home again, get showered and bring us both some real food and a few other little things. He brought back Subway! Yay! A turkey sub-the staple food of my pregnancy! I ate half and kept the other in a small cooler DH had brought with some ice. We both fell asleep watching one of our kiddie videos. We were so exhausted.
Around 10:30am Saturday morning, a funny looking little man comes to my doorway with a caddy of needles and such and says cheerily, "Hi I'm here for your IV." Umm-there must be some mistake, I don't need an IV. He turns to the nurses station just outside my door. My nurse is right there and comes in and says yes they ordered one for the MRI. No-I spoke with the neurologist yesterday and specifically asked him if I had to have needles and he said no. I would be having just the MRI, not an MRI with the contrast dye, because the dye was not safe in pregnancy. He said no needles. Said nurse calls the MRI place back and explains what the doctor had told me. They tell her that if they see something, then they will use the dye for contrast, so I need the IV. She relays that to me and I FLIP OUT!!! NO WAY! No-they will NOT be putting something into me that could/would harm my baby absolutely not. I get hysterical, she calls back and eventually the MRI place gives in and says fine, no IV. Good grief. Now I'm all worked up.
The MRI was scheduled for 12:30 Saturday, so the ambulance people came around noon to get me. A breath of fresh, cold Michigan air, and then it was into the ambulance for the short 5 mile ride to the MRI place. DH got to come along, but as soon as we got there, they made him go to the waiting room. I had to lay in the hallway on a hard metal gurney thing with no back support for like 10 minutes until a nurse came to get me. She gave me cheap earplugs and insisted that I put them in. I told her I really don't like anything in my ears, she said I had to, so I just kind of turned 'em sideways and laid 'em in there. Then they squished restraints on both sides of my head and I couldn't take it. I said "I can't do this-these ear plugs have to come out!" She shrugged and said "Ok, I guess you don't have to have them in." Well do I or don't I? Cause ya told me I just HAD to keep them in and now its ok if I take them out? Well they are staying OUT! (Note to readers-I had multiple ear surgeries in my younger years and anything in my ears bothers me a ton. No earplugs, no head phones with ear buds, and no Bluetooth thingy for me. Can't stand them.) I can see that this is not going to be good.
I had an MRI long ago, so I do remember them being noisy and confined. The hospital did offer me sedation for the MRI, but I said no thanks. Sedation just doesn't ever work, unless they make me totally unconscious. And any form of sedation would require NEEDLES! No thanks. I'll survive.
They stick me in there, and its ok, I just close my eyes. Then panic sets in. What if this whole thing that is only an inch from my face just collapses on me? I start crying. I'd be crushed for life. I can't breathe. I start to shake uncontrollably. I know they said I have to be still be I can't help it. My whole body starts to spasm. I'm going to puke. Oh my God, if I puke, I can't even turn my head, I'll aspirate my own vomit and die before I can get out. Don't puke, don't puke, just push it down. Then the noise starts. It is SO loud. Harlee does NOT like it one bit. She is kicking and punching so hard, she wants out now. So do I. She kicks harder, nonstop. I know I need to calm down. Think, think. Its so loud how can anyone think. Name vegetables A-Z. Go. The noise is so loud, OMG my baby is going to be deaf. R-radish, S-squash, T-turnip, U- there is no veggie that starts with u! . What if this is too much for her, she is obviously in distress here. I feel my stomach turn rock hard, so hard it hurts, is this a "contraction"? She kicks and I cry, so so hard. Flowers A-Z: anemone, bear's breech, candytuft, dianthus, edelweiss, f-um, can't think of an f... Who the hell made these machines? Can't they insulate them or something? Where are the advances in technology? My stomach keeps hardening, I'm sobbing, she's kicking. My Harlee will surely be deaf. I know all that amniotic fluid muffles noise, but it can only muffle so much. I try to keep my hands over my belly, as if to try to block out what I can for her. My elbows are digging into the hard metal on the super skinny thing I am laying on. Please be over soon, I can't take this.
It lasts over a half an hour. They take me out. I am still shaking and crying so hard. They take the things off of my head and ask "if I'm alright". Um-hello, do I look ok? I can barely speak and just say "I want my husband." No one even gives me a Kleenex. They push me out into the hallway where the ambulance drivers transfer me back over to their padded gurney in the empty hallway. I ask the woman from the ambulance company to grab me a paper towel I can see on a counter. She tries to find some Kleenex, but grabs the paper towel after she can't find any, or even anyone to ask. The man from the ambulance company brings my husband to me. I am just sobbing and am so worried about little Harlee. Now she's not moving at all, nothing. Please let her be ok.
We get back to the hospital and the nurses can tell I'm upset. They put all the monitors on right away. Her heart rate was good, and whatever contractions I had were gone. They leave the monitor on for a while, until I had calmed down. I was so exhausted I really didn't care to eat the tray of "food" they saved for me. DH held my hand and I fall asleep for a few hours, drifting in and out as the nurses check on me.
The neurologist came in around 4pm, and said everything looked ok, I could go home finally and he wanted to see me in two weeks. We had to wait for the OB to sign off on my discharge papers too but that only took about another hour. I go to the OB this coming Thursday, so they will see me then. So it was either a migraine with no pain and major visual disturbances, or a small clot that disappeared. I hope I do not have any more excitement until Harlee comes. And most of all-I hope none of you EVER have to have an MRI while pregnant. That was awful. And it didn't help that that place was more than difficult and uncaring. DH and I fell asleep in our own comfy bed last night watching tv, happy to be home, happy my little girl and I were ok.