Hospital again! (carotid artery dissection) and some garden therapy.
Little did I expect that I'd be writing another hospital related post so soon and couldn't face another gloomy spell so I'm doing my best to be positive and plan to use my garden as therapy.
I was struck by an absolutely horrendous headache last Friday, beginning in the morning and continuing non-stop all day, culminating in awful pain Friday evening. I really thought it was just a result of an sinus infection I'd had. However, Mark noticed on Saturday that one pupil was smaller than the other and my left eyelid was slightly droopy. I was a little bit concerned but not in a panic particularly. (Subsequently I discovered that this was Horner's Syndrome which is one sign of carotid artery dissection).
I did decide, however, to go to my GP on Monday. This I did and she referred me straight into A&E. Off I went - I drove myself, expecting that I'd be let out but it wasn't to be. I remained on a trolley in A&E on Monday night and then was moved to a temporary room for Tuesday and Wednesday. I didn't have any idea what was going on and still wasn't particularly panicking although I should have copped that it was serious when I wasn't waiting so long in the waiting room at the start.
There were lots of tests, blood tests, blood pressure, a CT scan and MRI and waiting waiting....
Here I am in the hospital, still a little bit of a droopy eye!
At first I was told that the MRI and scans were clear which was a relief but made the symptoms a bit of a puzzle. On my final day though, I saw the specialist who had seen me on admission and he explained that I had a tear in my carotid artery, also known as a carotid artery dissection.
It was this that had caused the headache and he explained that it can happen due to trauma or exercise or can also happen spontaneously, as seemed to be the case with me because I couldn't remember straining it at all. It is an unusual condition - 'The annual incidence of symptomatic spontaneous internal carotid artery dissection is 2.5-3 per 100,000'. (See Medscape Article).
I had to see the stroke nurse as the risk of stroke is high and was prescribed aspirin for the next 6 months. I will also have to be monitored and have periodic scans to see how it's healing.
The thing I found most hard was that I'm prohibited from running/zumba/swimming, basically the things I love to do which de-stress me. It's hard not to feel down and discouraged, especially as being in the hospital brought me right back to my Dad's illness and passing, so I was emotional in the hospital quite aside from worrying about what was wrong.
Although I guess I have to allow myself a little bit of wallowing, I've decided I'll walk instead of running and I'll just have to be patient and listen to my body. I feel tired after very little exertion and if I overdo it, the headache gets worse and I'm living with a constant bad taste in my mouth which makes eating and drinking unpleasant.
I don't like to feel negative for too long though and I bought myself some plants yesterday in Aldi to cheer myself up. It was such a beautiful morning I took some photos in the garden and enjoyed the sun and I reckon planting is pretty ok as long as I'm not digging strenuously so at least gardening is still an option :)
I scattered some wildflower seeds last year in my flower bed and I'm not entirely sure what a lot of them are but I have such a pretty mix of colour this year, really love it.