Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Illness

About two weeks ago, I had just returned from my weekly trek to the market and was having some lunch and enjoying some down time before I wnt to teach my English class at 3:30.  Pixie was back in Muncie, Indiana, tending her sick mother, and everything seemed normal here. I suddenly developed an rather painful headache and corresponding vertigo when I tried to move much or even look around.  I ended up cancelling my class and relaxing for the next day and a half, hoping to nip this problem in the bid.  

Since I had been talking to Pixie every day, I told her about the symptoms on Thursday morning.  She was understandably concerned and wanted me to visit our doctor, Dr. Leon, that day.  I wanted to see if it would resolve itself overnight, so I agred to go the next morning.   By Friday, it was no better, so I went to visit the doctor.  After examining me, he concluded I had some type of infection, either viral or bacterial, which was manifesting itself in this way.  He gave me some medicine, and asked me to call him in the morning.   The next morning showed little if any improvement,  I was barely functioning.  Simply getting up to cook a meak or answer the door was a major trial.  I mostly lay on the sofa and tried to eat enough and drink enough fluids to stay hydrated and fortified, whichwas difficult because I had no appetite and could keep little down.  He asked that I call again later on Saturday to report my progress: none.  He then suggested I come into the Ajijic Clininc, a small hospital in town, to get some IV nutrition.  

When I got to the hospital ( my neighbor drove me; I was too dizzy to drive) he hooked me up to the IV.  I thought I'd be there for a few hours, so I brought no toiletries, eyeglasses, etc.  Turns out he kep me for two days, till Monday.  Thank God my friend Trudy was kind enough to bring me some lip glass and toohbrush and paste.  It was very tedious, but by  Monday I was beginning to feel better with the medicines and extra fluids. 

Once I got home, I want back to my old medicines, but my progress was very slow, and I still had most of the symptoms.  My friend, Fred's family was visiting.  His son is a physician and dropped by at Fred's request to check me out.  He was of the immediate opinion that I needed a brain scan to find out why I still had a bone-crushing headache.  He got together with my other friends to call Pixie and let her know how worried they were about me too.  They finally hijacked me and took me to another doctor, who ordered a brain scan right away.   Well, three brain scans later, they determined that I had hemorrhaging in my brain, NOT caused by a tumor or aneurism but probably by a bump on the head. (I did remember an egg on the head abour two weeks before these symptoms started).  

The symptoms I was having were most likely caused by  brain swelling as a result of the brain bleed.  I am being treated for the swelling by steroids, dieuretics, rest, and pain meds.  Hopefully, in another week, the swelling symptoms will be gone.  I will need to take anti-convulsive meds (Dytlanin) for about six months, because as the blood is reabsorbed into the brin, it can leave scarring and cause convulsions, so I can't drive for about a month.  Pixie arrived home Sunday and has been taking excellent care of me and feeding me, since I've lost 12 pounds through all this.  

SO... I am on the mend, and glad to be reunited with Pixie.  This experience is humbling for several reasons.  First, I did think, when they read the first scan, that I was looking at a brain tumor!  UGH.  Second, I don't remember hitting my head, but it must have been very hard.   Surely, we cannot take our fragile lives for granted.  

Thanks for all your emails.  I  have been inundated, and I hope this will answer more of your questions.  I have so many who love and care for me.  


Jim said...

Bill, thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery.

Katie said...

Have really enjoyed reading your blog. Glad you were able to find out the reasons for your illness, and here's hoping that you mend well and quickly!