Many of you know what happened to me. Many of you don’t. So, I thought I’d put this information all in one place so everyone can understand what’s happened to me. Feel free to “like” this post so that it propagates. Even in my brain-damaged state, I will understand that you are furthering the propagation of this information and not “liking” my brain bleeding.
I suffered a stroke, or a vascular event, as if getting a blood clot in your brain was some “event” like Comicon or the Lilith Fair or something. This “event” is a lot less fun and even worse food than both of those events.
So, the other day, Dawn, one of my caretakers at the adult care center asked me if I had died. I answered as honestly as I could, “I don’t think so.” Imagine to my surprise to find out that that answer was wrong. She asked me what happened when I was in the ICU. I told her the things I knew from other people telling me, which is primarily how I know things now because my memory of many things has been wiped out. I told her what had been told to me, that I had become “non-responsive” which is nurse talk for “he died” until they called a code on me which is more nurse talk for “everyone get the fuck over here now, someone is dying.” When you are non-responsive, you have basically reverted back to a meat-like status of not breathing and not having a heartbeat. But fortunately, it wasn’t for very long, although said things do damage to your brain over time, that amount of time wasn’t enough to cause my brain to entirely die which is dying for reals. However, from this state, I was able to come back and be able to type up this snarky summary today right now. Although technically I am a zombie, I’m hoping you guys won’t shoot me the next time you see me. My medical bills are high enough as it is right now. Now, although I was fortunate enough to come back from the unresponsive state after a few seconds, I was not lucky enough to beat the current record holder: Jesus at 3 full days. It all did happen near Easter, however. This all happened starting on April 6th.
I had had a headache for about a week after maybe working too hard and too late on a startup project. I went to Mark and Janine’s game night and played some Vampire with them. Afterwards, I got into my van and slept. I woke up the next morning feeling sick and threw up in a bucket I kept near the bed that normally holds some trash. I dumped out the puke into the toilet and started driving towards my primary care physician. Along the way, a car pulled in front of me at a stop light and I crashed into it! Now, I wasn’t feeling too well, and was concerned about the wet splashy noises that were coming from the bathroom, so I didn’t get out and exchange insurance information.
I continued onto the highway and went to my doctor’s appointment. Fortunately, I did so, because unbeknownst to me, I was dying of a brain hemorrage right then.
After I got to the doctor’s office, some people complained about my parking job. Apparently, you do a bad job of parking when your brain is bleeding. Go figure. So, they called security on me, and I was able to negotiate with the security guard to merely repark my car rather than actually drive it outside of the facility and park it in the street. And so I did repark well enough that the person behind me could get by and I ran to my doctor’s office. The staff there saw something wrong in me and my doctor’s husband, who is also a doctor, drove me to the Emergency Room at Stanford where they had an MRI. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a machine to take selfies of inside your brain.
From there, things escalated because they saw that I had had a “vascular event” which turned out to be an intercranial hemmorage or (ICH). In other words, I had had a type of stroke. This got me into the ICU at Stanford where I stayed for a couple of days.
During this stay is when I became “non-responsive”. Apparently, the bleed in my brain was causing pressure in my brain to push it around in a way where it shouldn’t be pushed around. The term I heard was “the pressure was pushing down on your brain stem and you became non-responsive.” They gave me salt directly into my IV which reduced the swelling and pressure and probably prevented me from dying right there.
I don’t remember any of this happening. This is all second-hand information I got from remembering what people told me. I’ll add to this later as I learn more. But so far, it’s been kind of hard to get this information at all. When it comes to brains, it turns out that we don’t really know a whole lot of how they work or don’t work. And so it goes in my case, too.
Since then, I’ve gone to a professional care facility and have been released to be on my own but carefully monitored by a staff of home-care nurses. I’ve been staying with Kristina and Dan Tomalesky, and they have been acting as my caretakers during this time and letting me stay with them in one of their rooms. They have been amazing in the help they have given me during this time and I don’t know how I can ever thank them enough. So, just know that they are the awesomest people in the world and give them more thanks for me whenever you see them.
I’ll write more about the experience as I feel up for it. Mostly these days, I’m taking it easy so that I can heal from this brain injury. Apparently, such a thing is possible. I’ve lost some function, but it doesn’t seem too bad. Although the odds of recovery are not great, in my specific case, it looks like I should make a nearly full recovery. That I can write this now is perhaps significant proof of my progress. I’m often told what I was or wasn’t capable of earlier because I have no memory of any of it so I need to be told second hand things about myself all the time.
I’ll write more about the metaphysical stuff and weird things that happened later. This is mostly just to get the information out there to people who don’t know what happened. It’s likely that I haven’t responded to emails or anything in the last month. And I don’t know exactly who knows or who doesn’t know, so this is just so people out there can now understand my situation a little bit better.