One night in February of 1991 my 16 year old son called from a friends house about 10 miles from our home. He needed me to come get him because his car would not start. When I arrived the local police were already there because some neighbors had complained about the loud "music" from the boys cars. I evidently drew attention away from this because I pulled into a next door drive way and passed out over the steering wheel.
At first the police thought I was drunk but my son assured them this was not so. When they realized there was a larger problem they had an ambulance for me as fast as possible. It turned out it was better this way than if I had been at home alone. And my son got to drive my new car to the hospital.
For about 3 months before this night I was having spells of memory loss and confusion, during one of these spells I fell and shattered the heel of my right foot. The cast had only been off for about a week at this time. My husband worked at night and he was given a message that I was in the hospital. He assumed that I had re-injured my foot. He didn't know what the nurse meant when he got there and was told they thought I had a bleed. As they took CT Scans and confirmed this diagnosis, he learned a lot more about it.
They told him the best treatment , if possible, was for me to be held 12 days and then have surgery. They kept me in neurological intensive care for those 12 days. I was not allowed to get out of bed. They had to tie me down because I did not understand the situation. All of this comes from friends and family, I have no memory of at least 3 to 4 months time and only partial of more than that. During those 12 days of waiting they tell me that I was conscious and talking but did not remember 5 minutes later what had been said. The were constantly taking tests and monitoring all of my symptoms. There was an arteriogram and several spinal taps done. My husband was allowed to see the pink fluid coming out in the spinal tap. The doctor explained that it was to be clear.
The operation was finally done. It took about 8 hours. They clipped one aneurysm and wrapped several other places that were weak. I can through that operation but still have no memory of the time. I was in the hospital 6 weeks at that time, 41 days of which was in intensive care. This occcured in Houston, TX and I think I had some of the best care possible with a neurosurgeon from Baylor College of Medicine. Another arteriogram was done before I was released and in one of these it was discover that there were more aneurysms present. One of which was by the brain stem and in absolute need of clipping.
Since the first bleed had been at the front this work could not be done at the same time. We were told that I would need at least 9 months to recover from one and then should have the second operation. The other one that was discovered was in the right front and not as dangerous. They evidently kept me very relaxed during that summer because I remember very little of the months between surgeries. I was healing well and they upped the second operation to October 1 of 1991.
A week before I was sent to pre-op for the tests. This was the only arteriogram of my total of 5 that I really remember and I did not like it! The second operation took 10 hours and had some problems. When it was over they did not replace the piece of bone at the back of my head. Back in intensive care I managed to convince everyone including the doctors that I was doing great and was placed in intermediate care earlier that expected. The next day my brain when into spasms. When I finally got sent home I was having a lot of problems. Double and blurred vision, total lack of balance and complete confusion.
Then the area where they operated started to swell. I could reach back there and it felt like half of a baseball. As soon as the doctors saw this I was back in the hospital. When they told me they were going to do a spinal tap I got very upset. I had always heard that they caused terrible headaches and I didn't want one done on me. I had no memory of the ones that had been performed previously. They finally got this fluid back into my head and I had to wear an elastic bandage wrapped tightly around my head for the next 3 months. I got to take it off for my daughters wedding on January 1st, 1992.
All of this has been 6 years ago but does not go away. I have a blind spot in the upper right quadrant of each eye, the left side of my face has no feeling in it, my balance and depth perception are very bad. When people touch the back of my neck near where the second operation was there is an area which goes wild. It can hurt or make me feel like I am going to black out. It is amazing when you are short ( 5') how often people greet you with a hand at your neck.
But my biggest problems have been with changes in my personality. I had been the general manager of an import export company and had just left to open my own business when the bleed occurred. Back then I could handle the Customs clearance and total discharge and unloading of an entire vessel coming into port. Now just getting my home clean is a major project. I get irritated by small things and will tell anyone about it. I do not have the ordinary common sense that I had always enjoyed. For 12 years I raised 3 children on my own, now I can't tend my grandson for an hour. Then there are the blank times. These come over me and I don't know what is going on around me. I have had to ask my husband for directions in my own home ( 2 bedroom condo) and need help getting there.
I have been learning to recognize the feelings when they are coming and I go and lie down but I can't always tell or am not always at home to handle them. I also tend to wake up in confusion as to where I am. It has helped me a lot to find this site and know that there are others who have gone through some of the same problems. Since I was 42 at the time of my first bleed I have ended up retired early and we now live in a small town in Nevada, I have had no one to talk to about it.
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