Life Stories: A Narrow Escape Part 2

As soon as I was booked in the Emergency Room, the nurses immediately put me on a wheelchair and sent me to the resident on-call. As I was explaining to the doctor what happened to me, the blurring and the tunneling in my vision went away. I told her as such, but the doctor did a neuro test (touch your nose, stick out your tongue, etc.) to check my responses. When she could not find anything wrong, she told me they’ll assess if I will be sent to an opthalmologist or a neurologist.

I was in the waiting area when I felt my left arm from the elbow down and my leg starting to become numb. Not only that, but I felt the onset of a headache starting at the back of my head. When the doctor returned, she told me that if seeing a neurologist would end up with me getting admitted. With the numbness I was feeling and the headache about to be unbearable, I had no choice.

While waiting to be booked, they put me on an IV drip and extracted an inordinate amount of blood from me. And after an ECG, a resident neurologist gave me another neuro test. The neurologist told me that the symptoms I exhibited were from a Transient Ischemic Attack – I almost had a stroke.

Since the attack lasted less than 30 minutes, the cause of my blurred vision would have been a loss of blood flow to the part of my brain that controlled my vision, be it because there was a blood clot or a clogged blood vessel. By some miracle, the blood flowed back into my brain before any damage happened.

As the doctor was explaining this, they administered painkillers through IV for my headache and a drug designed to protect my brain in case an attack happened again. Given that it was a transient attack and no permanent damage was noticeable, they decided to put me under observation. They told me no MRI unless another attack happened.

Because I just became permanent at my job, my HMO had yet to be processed. This caused me to wait another hour before I was finally sent into my room. It was already 11AM when I was admitted, and another two hours before my parents arrived.

The specialist, Dr. Tenchavez, finally arrived at 4PM to check on me. By this time, the headache was gone but my head felt very heavy, and walking around was a chore. Dr. Tenchavez gave me another round of neuro tests – more comprehensive this time. Again he found nothing wrong with my responses. That’s when he noticed the small spots of discoloration in my arms, back and chest. I told him that those appeared when I was a teenager, and that my brother also had it, so i though it was congenital. He advised me to have it checked because it appearing during puberty did not mean it was congenital. Apparently, skin conditions might have had an impact on my attack because the skin was where the nervous system started.

With that, a dermatologist, Dr. Verallo, appeared the next day to examine my skin. She then told us that the marks could be my skin’s reaction to the chemicals in the clothes I wear – the soap, the dye, even the fabric. The marks were inflammations caused by allergies – reactions not strong enough to bother me, but enough to cause the discoloration in my skin. And since the discoloration was all over my body, those inflammations could be hampering blood flow throughout my body.

Both specialists, returned twice to examine me again, then recommended us for discharge. I still had two tests to take – a blood test and a skin patch test – but those I could have done as an outpatient. And so, two days after the attack, I was on my  shaky feet on the way home.

To be continued. Click here for Part 1.

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