4.19.2007

i’ve got a torti-what?

before i continue with my posts about our time in vermont, i need to post about why it’s taking me so long to post about our time in vermont.

ever since saturday night of last weekend, i’ve been experiencing intense pain in my head and neck. i went to bed that night thinking the headache that was coming on was the result of dehydration, as i hadn’t had much water that day, but instead was drinking more caffeinated coffee than usual and a couple or three glasses of wine that night. when i woke up the next morning, however, the pain was significantly worse. because i tend to think the worst until proved otherwise, my first, over-reactive thought was, “tumor . . . what if i have a tumor?” the pain was that bad. so bad, in fact, i couldn’t sit up for more than ten minutes without wanting to cry or, in actuality, sobbing. i drank seven or eight glasses of water before i realized that dehydration wasn’t the cause, so the four-hour rounds of advil (four pills per round) began. still no relief.

david and i drove to a nearby grocery store sunday afternoon to pick up some cous cous for dinner that night, and also to buy heating and cooling strips. the heat to soothe my neck and the cool to numb my head. at first, they felt great, but after a while, the cooling strip on my forehead wasn’t enough. i graduated to resting an ice pack on my head, which helped while it was there, but a moment after it warmed up or was removed, the pain returned.

we were supposed to return to chicago on tuesday evening, but as luck would have it (that’s really just a catchy phrase. i doubt it was luck. more likely god was looking out for me.) the weather was not looking promising for air travel, and david called continental to get us on a flight the following day at no extra charge.

i spent a majority of monday in bed, feeling horrible that the pain wouldn’t stop, that david was forced to be at my beck and call, and that i wasn’t able to play with isaak or hold and cuddle new baby aaron. fortunately for me, david and isaak had tons of fun together. david brought isaak up to my bed to say hi, and when i apologized for not being able to play with him more, isaak said, “that’s okay,” though he sounded bummed out. as he was walking toward the stairs to go back down, i said, “i hope you’ve been having fun with uncle david,” and isaak replied with, “i've had SO much fun!”

that night, my mom’s cousin, who is prone to migraines, gave me one of her prescription pills, called relpax, but it didn’t do much to help. in the middle of the night that night, i woke up wincing in pain. david massaged the part of my neck that seemed to be the source of the worst pain, and offered to take me to the emergency room if i needed to go. knowing full well that neither of us knew where an e.r. was and that david and peter’s stick shift car weren’t compatable, i opted to tough it out ’til morning.

so tuesday morning after isaak went to school and peter went to work, susanna drove david and me to the nearest urgent care facility, where they diagnosed my pain as an extreme case of tension headache, and prescribed for me tylenol with codeine and a muscle relaxant for when i got home that night and could really sleep.

the tylenol seemed to help somewhat, but there was still a dull pain that was worse when i sat upright or moved around a lot.

i attempted to go to work wednesday and lasted until 2pm, at which point i went home and realized that, stupidly, i’d left the muscle relaxant at my office. david, being the good soul and husband-to-be extraordinaire that he is, went to my office to pick it up and brought it to me, along with a gift certificate for a one-hour massage on the day of my choice at galter lifecenter. i took one pill at 4:30 and fell asleep almost immediately until 10pm, when david came by again to make me some dinner. grilled cheese . . . mmmm . . . i ate in a daze and fell back to sleep shortly thereafter. david woke me up again at 12:30 to give me another muscle relaxer, so i could get through the rest of the night.

today i attempted work yet again, but didn’t even last an hour. at 10:15 i went home and made some phone calls to cancel appointments for tomorrow, and then called a doctor who had been recommended to me by a co-worker. even though she was booked, she snuck me in at 1pm and spent a tremendous amount of time with me, figuring out what she could do for me. dr. yakoub is my new favorite person, and she is definitely going to be my primary care physician from this day forward.

from the answers i gave her and from what she could discern from some other brief tests, i have a mild version of a condition called torticollis. it’s a big word for a muscle spasm that affects the muscles up and around the back of one’s skull, in my case, the right side. in more extreme cases, the spasms are so strong that they cause involuntary movement of the head. this is not the case with me, nor does dr. yakoub believe that this will occur again. so much of the pain in my neck seems to stem from the stress of our trip out east.

in order to remedy the spasms, dr. yakoub gave me two shots at the base of my head. one was a numbing agent, which hurt like hell as it spread to the points of need, but then did its job immediately, taking the pain away. the second shot was of cortisone, which she tells me will spread slowly over the next couple of days. i was told to expect a portion of time during the next day or two when it will seem as though the cortisone is not working, but that the pain will then go away shortly thereafter. i can only hope and pray that this works.

as i write this, i am still feeling some neck pain, but am planning to take another muscle relaxant and hit the hay. thanks to those of you who have offered assistance and included me in your prayers.

5 comments:

simplicity said...

so glad that you are on the road to recovery. how scary and awful to feel like that while away from home and not know what it is.

I pray that you will be back to your normal self in no time.

thanks for updating us!

Kelly said...

Good luck, Ann-Marie! I hope you have a very speedy recovery. And if you need a physical therapist to help out with the recovery, I can recommend a great one.

kate setzer kamphausen said...

i always hate headaches, because there seems to be no "physical" cause - it seems to be just "in my head"! glad your doctor doesn't listen to nonsense like that!

as a headache sufferer, i will be FERVENTLY praying for your healing/relief!!

audrey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
audrey said...

i can't imagine how scary it must have been to not know what was going on. i'm glad that you found a wonderful doctor that can acutally HELP you, and who you feel you can trust.

i'm praying for you, too, and hope that you rest as much as you possibly can over the next few weeks:)