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Thursday, January 11, 2007

5:26:00 PM Superman
Today I had my first physical therapy session. It made me feel really confident afterwards- so confident that I decided to get on the iMac.. FOR TWO AND A HALF HOURS. Needless to say I made myself sick. Blargh. The doctor said to do things in small doses- guess that wasn't a small dose:( - Fortunately I'm not so sick that a hospital visit is required though I am going to the regular doctor tomorrow. There I will find out results of tests that they did for stuff they were pretty sure was negative. Will try to keep you updated, though don't expect giant updates like last time, that took me forever :( I go to Occupational Therapy in a few weeks where I will learn how to do my job again...my typing speed is about 1/3 to 1/2 what it used to be, Tara says I'm still fast.. so I envision the OT going like this:

--

Them: Your typing speed is excellent, what other issues do you have?

Me: Look, I've got other issues, but my typing speed should be faster, can we work on that?

Them: (not believing me) Maybe you just THINK your typing speed was faster? You type really fast!

Me: Nonono, you don't understand.. ow my head hurts

etc

--

Ahh well. Will let you know!

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

This time last week I could only dream of typing on a computer- I had just been released from the emergency room the day before (I was dangerously dehydrated) yet many of my symptoms persisted, even though I thought they were born from the dehydration. That visit to the hospital was a fun one- I spent a good portion of it in the waiting room- super fatigued and out of it, barely able to walk, with a many day old beard and hat. I spent the wait shivering, sitting in a hospital issued wheel chair with dried pink puke stains on my khaki cargo pants. Yes, I was the scariest guy in the ER waiting room.

They took me in, told me the numbness in my extremities was probably from short breathing due to the days old fever and dehydration. They did a flu-swab, which involved sticking a tiny q-tip device up my nose as far as it could go. With a certain scene from Total Recall playing through my head I endured. Yes, it hurt. Then the best part, I couldn't pee. They claimed it was probably from all the Ny/Dayquil I had taken leading up to the visit- the decongestant, they said, caused muscle spasms and locked me up :(. A catheter was called for, which hurt more, and they sent me home with it, with the promise that I could have it removed in a few days by my regular doctor.

I wouldn't have made it with the catheter if the symptoms of disorentation, fatigue and others hadn't persisted. But somehow when they discharged me from the hospital that night I felt better. I had recieved 1000ccs of saline and had been tested and catheterized. Feeling more machine then man I got back in the car with my wife and daughter to go home. I felt so good that I told Tara that I even felt like eating some fast food, though the hospital had said I needed to go on an "all clear diet"-- so no trans-fat for me.

But I was still sick... Tuesday became Wednesday and Tara's efforts to keep me hydrated were wearing on me- To this day I still can't eat jello or drink gator-ade :( Since I was still sick we called my doctor and let them know- they said to come in on Thursday. I was still in bed from Tuesday night when it was time to go to the doctors on Thursday (yay catheters!)-- Tara had even said that the doctor would remove the catheter early, yay again! By the time I got to the doctor though it was plain that I would be going back to the emergency room. I was wheel chaired from car to doctor's room back to car. This time though my doctor called ahead to the ER.

When we got there a wheel-chair was already waiting for me, and only a few moments later I was in my own room in the ER. A record I'm sure-- Tara said it was because my doctor called ahead-- I think it was because they knew I was the scariest guy in the waiting room.

The same doctor who saw me on Tuesday was there, and was surprised and concerned to see me again. He told me he'd figure out what was going on- ordering a full round of tests, a CT scan, a Chest X-Ray, an EKG and.. wait for it..

A spinal tap! Ayeee!!

Fortunately they went ahead and followed my request to do everything else first, everything else of course came back negative. So I got the spinal tap, and man that hurt worse then the catheter-- a few times they sent fire down my left leg and made me kick my foot, it was sooo weird. I was afraid I was going to lose feeling in my leg from the tap. Fortunately I survived intact, and fortunately the tap was worth it-- some proteins were high, indicating Viral Meningitis- sonofa!!

So out came the catheter (which hurt again doh), and I was then admitted to the hospital. I was transferred from the ER to my own room- but what a room it was! There was a TV, wireless internet, my own bathroom, a phone, a menu for room service and an incredible nursing staff. They even brought a cot for wife and baby to sleep on! It was sooo nice that I almost didn't want to leave. My symptoms it turned out were:

  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Numbness of the extremities
  • Stiff neck
  • Loss of binocular vision
  • Lack of coordination
This meant that I had diffiuclty walking and had to close an eye in order to see right. Neurologists and doctors visited me (and most of them screwed up my IV to get me to walk, though the nurses obliged to fix it each time). I was poked and prodded, and eventually sent to the MRI. I had to pee during the last 1/3 of it, and man that was a huge challenge. Yet, the pictures turned out fine and showed that my brain was indeed messed up by the Viral Meningitis.

The doctors gave me great news- that in most cases the symptoms go away after a few weeks! Then the bad news- I can't drive, or hold my daughter standing up until then. Doh! They released me from the hospital on Sunday, though I was released in pretty bad shape, and as I said, I almost didn't want to leave. Maybe it was my fatigue that made me so lazy, but there was just something nice about having an IV and not having to worry about staying hydrated, and having room service with a great menu at my beck and call, plus a nursing staff who totally pampered me. Though it did suck to have to ask them to help me with walking to the bathroom.. and I definitely don't miss having to measure my output every time I peed. Ugh. While I was there I also got a little bit of physical therapy-- they gave me a cane and taught me how to use it. Fun. I was lucky though because my parents came up right away and took care of me while I was in the hospital during the days (Tara stayed during the evening/nights)- and at home Tara's been taking care of me non-stop with help for home and baby from her Dad's girlfriend and her Dad.

Slowly my symptoms have been receding, just as the doctors said! Atleast, I think they are- the numbness has gone down and my binocular vision has been returning too (so far at short distances)! Today I started taking the stairs one foot after the other and walked often without my cane. One of the directions given to me by my physical therapist was to play video games(!) So I downloaded the original Super Mario Brothers onto the Wii and have been playing it without my eyepatch in order to try to encourage the vision to return. It seems to be working- I am able to sit farther and farther away from the tv every day.

Though for some reason I can't get past world 8-2. I blame the Viral Meningitis!

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