I have just spent my lunch hour looking over some of the narratives from others that have experienced a brain aneurysm. It has calmed some of my anxiety as to being a survivor. I would like to share my experience with others as well.
First of all, I do not remember a lot of what happened, I was told by my friend and son what had happened and what I acted like. The most I remember is that about two weeks before Mother's day I had a severe headache on my right side. I am prone to sinus infections, so I thought that was what I had. I took some over the counter medications and it helped a little bit, but by the end of the week it was getting worse. I had made an appointment to see my doctor the following Monday. I went to work Friday and the pain was so bad, I went to our health room and put a hot compress on my face and laid down. It helped a little, but by the end of the day my eye was hurting so bad I wanted to tear it out. The rest has been told to me.
I got up on Saturday and was going to mow the grass. I got into the car to pickup some gas for the mower. I came back home and started to pour the gas in when I blacked out and fell in the year. I vomited and convulsed and screamed that my head hurt and I couldn't see. A neighbor came out to see what was wrong and went to my house to tell my roommate and son that I was seriously ill outside. They called 911 and the ambulance came.
They tried to hook up the IV, but my veins kept collapsing, so they gave up and took me to the nearest hospital. The doctor there said I had a migraine and gave me a shot for the pain. My roommate told him that I have never had a migraine before and that there was something seriously wrong with me. She made him call my Kaiser doctor who sent an ambulance to pick me up. They took me to Fairfax Hospital who ran a CT scan and confirmed I had an aneurysm that was leaking. They then transported me to Georgetown Hospital where the surgeon who operated on Mr. Brady (the Brady bill) did the angiogram (I think). All I remember is that he told me it would hurt and not to move as he cut on my groin to insert a needle and some dye. Apparently I was not very stable as he postponed any surgery until Wednesday.
My parents came up to be with my son and to take care of me. They said it was the longest three days they had ever been through as my heart stopped on two occasions. The surgery took 8 hours and when they rolled me out of recovery, my dad said that the doctor was combing my hair so the clamps wouldn't show as much. My dad said he even washed me down and put a new gown on before they were allowed to see me. I woke up a few hours later and felt so good I wanted to get out of bed, but the head nurse said no way and I had better behave or she'd tie me down (she was just joking).
One of the residence came to see me the next day and told me I was one heck of a lucky girl. It seems the aneurysm had been seeping for some time and a large clot had formed which was pressing against the retina nerve which caused me to black out and not see anything. When they opened me up the aneurysm ruptured and spewed blood all over the operating room. The doctor started suctioning as quickly as possible to prevent any damage to my brain or spine. The resident said he had never seen anything like it before. I felt so good and was recovering so well, the doctor let me go home 7 days after the surgery and the staples were removed.
When I went back to see the doctor the following week, I was real weak, but felt good. He explained that my aneurysm was located on one of the major vessels that splits from the brain stem. He put a metal clipping over the tear and that the only side affects I would have is some memory loss and no wrinkles on the right side of my face. He said this was due to having to cut the nerves when opening the skull. The only bad feelings I have about the whole thing is I was not in control and had I not had my roommate and son there I would be dead. Also, I had partial memory loss which frustrated me for several months as I use to pride myself in remembering even small things. I have learned to cope with this, and have really changed the way I look at life today. I am enjoying and experiencing things I would have never done before because I was so down to earth and responsible. The one thing I learned is life is to short and can be taken from you at any moment, so take advantage of what life is all about. Enjoy your friends, your family, and all there is out there.
PS: My dad was the greatest ever. He contracted acute lukemia and was given the option of intense chemo and radiation with only a 50% chance of remission, or going home and dying in 6 weeks. He chose going home as to him the quality of life was more important than quantity. I spent the last three weeks with him and held his hand when he took his last breath. His last words were (God left you with us for a reason, so go out there and give them "HECK").