In 1978 I had a cerebral aneurysm. At that time I was 27 old and had a two and one half year old. My grandmother had died just 4 months previous due to a cerebral aneurysm. They autopsied her to find the cause of death. For several months she and I had discussed the same symptoms and thought it was just a case of the flu.
I never put the symptoms together with what happened to her. I guess because no one had ever really heard of aneurysms at that time. I had had severe headaches for years so when the nausea began I just thought I had a virus to go with the head aches.
During the months before the hemorrhage, it seemed the only time that I was without pain was when I was lying down and as soon as I stood up and started moving around the headaches began. I would have sold my soul to the devil many times if he would have taken away the pain, good thing he wasn't around.
After years of this excruciating pain I was glad when I finally had the hemorage. The night before, while driving home from work all I could think about was just having something happen that would put and end to this pain, by this time I could not even lift by arms even with my shoulders without increasing the pain level. I went home and submerged myself in the bath tub, but this time the pain would not stop. Since I could not get any medical doctor to help I went to see a chiropractor, he did an adjustment to my neck. I thought I had a pinched nerve. I drove home (this took 10min) went to my bedroom to lay down, the pain continued to worsen so I got up to get some aspirin and I cannot recall exactly the feeling except I started noosing all the feeling in my legs and I knew something had happened and I needed to get help before I passed out.
My daughter and her friend came out of her room and I thought I told her to go outside and play. I managed to get outside but I do not remember doing it. My cousin was in the apartment next door to me and I went there. I knew what I needed to do so I think my body just responded because I did not even remember getting there. Her boy opened the door ( I must have looked like a maniac because he closed the door on me). I turned to leave to see if someone else could help me and my daughter had gone to her friends and got her mother to help me. I remember seeing her as I was sliding down the wall and just saying 'help me'.
They took me into my cousins and put me on the couch. They tell me that anyone that was two blocks away would have come to help me because I had been screaming due to the pain. By the time I was put on the couch I was pulling my hair out to try and get into by head to stop whatever was happening. By the time the ambulance arrived I began going into convulsions and I saw people holding me down on the couch and telling me it was going to be alright.
I was moved to the hospital. This hospital did not have a CAT scan so they had to move me to another hospital and could not do that until 8 hours later when there was an available ambulance. I awakened that evening and saw my father there, I told him not to worry I would be okay. They gave me the sacrament of the sick, just in case I didn't know what I was talking about.
They operated two weeks later, this was after 3 angiograms and a lot of medicine to slow the flow of blood, and a lot of morphine to help stop the pain. After the surgery I still had to come off of the morphine, I have a lot of sympathy for people coming off of drugs, it is not pleasant.
After the surgery I needed physical therapy to learn to walk again, I needed to wear a patch on my eyes because the 6th cranial nerve had been damaged, my equilibrium was just about gone, my depth perception was gone and alot of my memory had been erased. I was told by everyone how lucky I was to be alive.
I think the most frustrating part of this was the loss of memory. I would be talking to someone and I could not finish what I was saying because the word for what I wanted to say was gone or the rest of the memory was gone. I miss the loss of old memories the most but I have been lucky to able to make new ones.
The rest of the problems were physical and I was determined to get back to the way I was before the hemorrhage. It took time but I did it.
There were 2 aneurysms. One at the base of the skull and one on the right side of my head. They clipped the one at the base. This was in July/1975 and I was scheduled to go in for the second one in Oct/75. They did another angiogram and decided there had not been enough change and they did not want to do another surgery. I have never had it looked at again and do not know if I should but it has been 20 years. I had a great surgeon and some wonderful doctors and nurses.
There was only one time shortly after I came home, I was by myself, looking out of the window, the day was beautiful, and I felt so alone that I could not understand why I tried so hard to survive when it would have been so easy to give up. I could never commit suicide but I can certainly understand why someone could.
I am lucky to be alive, it was quite an interesting ordeal that has taught me alot about myself and others.
Update 13 Dec 96
On 17 September 1996, I had the second aneurysm bleed enough to be taken to the hospital. I do not know how long the aneurysm had been leaking, probably because I was ignoring the symptoms.
I had been sick to my stomach for several months, along with being tired all of the time. I would get shooting pains through my head and tell myself that I really should schedule a MRI to find out what was going on with the aneurysm. I didn't. Probably because I didn't want it confirmed that I would have to have to make the decision to have a brain operation and who would perform the operation.
Aside from being sick and tired all of the time I was becoming very listless and didn't seem to care about anything anymore. I was becoming harder and harder to want to do anything. Theonly reason I did was because of my feeling of responsibility to my work and animals.
Three weeks prior to the final bleed I had been experiencing very strong shooting pains going from the right side of my head to the middle of my forehead. They would last for a few seconds and recede. This gave me a reason to ignore them. The next week I was taking a lesson on my horse and had to quit because the pain was so intense and my helmet felt like a vise on me. I went and sat down and everyone was saying how the flu was going around and everyone was getting these bad headaches. Well, I let that subside my fears of an aneurysm. Soon the people left and I was alone in the barn. I just wanted to lay down and stop the headache. I went into the stall with my horse and sat down. I remember just thinking that I had better get up because I didn't want to get stepped on and I also thought that if I lay down I would never get up again. I left and drove home although I do not remember the drive, I just remember thinking that I need to concentrate and focus on where I was going. When I got home my dogs needed to eat and I just threw some food into their bowls and grabbed a couple of ice packs and went to bed.
The rest of the week progressed with only the nausea. On Saturday I was out riding again and started to exert myself and the sharp pains started again. I got off and the pain went away. Again I didn't do anything (it was just denial). On Tuesday, I had another lesson and had just started to do some work with the horse and the headache started real good this time. I took the helmet off again wanting to relieve the pressure but not today. I told my instructor I was alright but I could not ride because the headache was back again. I managed through sheer will power to walk back to the barn without falling over. I am a very stubborn person and I very seldom ask anyone for help. (This is not a good thing to do.)
I found a couch to lay on and when I awoke again I knew I needed someone came into the room where I was laying. I remember hearing someone asking me if I was alright and thinking that I answered her but I found out later that I didn't. About and hour after I went in to the barn my instructor found me and asked if I was alright, when she sat down I was jarred awake and asked her if she would take me to the hospital.
I went to the hospital and was transferred to Stanford,CA. I was operated on September 19. The aneurysm was 1 centimeter in size and located close to the optic nerve. There was quite a bit of bleeding, the surgery lasted 6 hours. I had trouble with my right eye but that has gone away in the last month. My hearing is not so good but that should also go away. I was on dilantin and another new anti-seizure drug, both of the made me very sick but I had to take them for 3 and 2 weeks respectively.
I went back to work on Nov 2 and started riding the following week. I have found that there are friends that stay away from me know. Life has changed because of this. Some friends become better friends and some friends go away.
I remember asking God 'If I have to go through something so catastrophic why couldn't you pick something different, I have already done this.' Well, he hasn't yet replied. I am very grateful that I came throuth this again with no problems. I do believe there is a reason for this, I just don't know what it is at this time.