Thursday, January 8, 2009

Begin from the beginning

It is the first Saturday after leaving the hospital. Emre, my brother has to go back to Istanbul. Mom is staying for an indefinite period to help us. Mehmet and I go to the hospital, for my blood work. Every day I have to do that so that we know how to adjust the blood thinner - Coumadine . The drug interacts with every chemical intake - including of course food, so that we have to adjust the dose. If the bloodwork comes back too low, I have to increase the dose, if the bloodwork comes too high, I have to take Vitamin K to bring it back to a normal level. It is the same Suburban Hospitals lab that we go to.
While I am waiting in the waiting room, I begin to feel funny. I feel cold in the hands and arms, and the same "something is definitely wrong inside my head" feeling returns. The same feeling of the stroke. Am I having another stroke? I alarm my husband. He, in return alarms who ever is around. Immediately a triage team is assembled from nowhere. They lay me on a stretcher and wheel me into the emergency room. There I wait and wait, to me and Mehmet it seems like an eternity. The same nightmare again: ER, electrodes on my chest, CAT scan... Somewhere between ER room and MRI room I scribble on my Magna doodle " Take care of Kaan" and show it to Mehmet. His eyes tear immediately, so do mine. This time I am sure that I'm going for good. I want to say so many things to my husband, to my son... So much unfinished business... MRI machine is the worst, it takes 40 minutes inside the sacrophagus, you don't know what you have, what you will be. By the time I come out Mehmet is relieved. I don't have anything the doctor's say.
What was is it then? What has just happened? Nobody has an explanation.
We come home eventually, I am exhausted. I long for my bed, and sleep and sleep.
One week after the incidence we figure out that it was a panic attack, one of many I am to experience in the future. We now know that it was a panic attack, but neither know what triggered it, how to prevent it and there is always the possibility of it being the real thing. So you say to yourself better safe than sorry and you call people for help.


The Bee Folks - Lori Titus said...

I'm glad to see you posting again!

My husband had two attacks like you are describing. The docs at Hopkins decided that they were related to his blood pressure dropping after a day of high stress. They occurred immediately after his first two attempts at rehab. Maybe this happens to you?

Banu Turhan said...

No it wasn't the case with me. It was a panic attack. I had maybe 3 or for of them within the first 2 months. Then I learned to control them Thank God. But I can still have them. 2,5 years after the stroke, I experienced another panick attack for example, this time in the middle of the night. We didn't know whether the treath was real or not. So I had another MRI. How I control them: When I feel a panic attack coming (palpitation, feeling of panic,shallow but frequent breathing, sweat breaking etc) I tell my self 'this is a panic attack.' "You have to stay calm." I deliberately don't give in to the feeling, I breath normal (not to deep)and the feeling goes away over time. Afterwards I feel very tired for the rest of the day.