Monday, April 4, 2016

MATTHEW'S HEALTH SCARE

This is an extremely long post, I am writing and sharing this to give family and friends the full story, and so that we can come back and read this in the future. Matthew and I have both talked often about how we love being able to come back to my blog and read old posts about different events and just the everyday life happenings that I blog about. So feel free to skip over this post if you don't feel like reading it. Last week the blog got put on the back burner because of everything that happened, but I popped in on Friday to give a small update. And today I am giving the full story of Matthew's health scare, with his permission of course :)


Sunday, March, 20th: We had just gotten to church for evening service. Service had just started and Matthew leaned over and whispered to me that his right arm, hand and part of his leg was numb. I didn't think too much into it since it wasn't his left arm, but as the service went on he said it was still numb and I could tell it was starting to bother him. I asked if he wanted to leave he said no but started googling what it could be. He couldn't type that well on his phone because his hand was so numb. At this point service was almost over and I could tell it was really bothering him, but he said he was starting to get the feeling back and the numbness was going away. Once service was over it had completely gone away so we decided to go on to Blue Coast for dinner. We really didn't think too much more about it, but he told his parents about it and they advised if it happened again to get it checked out.

Wednesday, March 23rd: I was at work and got a call from Matthew around 11:15 that morning, which is extremely rare. So I answered it, his exact words, "Don't freak out, but my arm went numb again and I'm on the way to the doctor." Insert me freaking out. He told me his arm, hand and leg went numb again that morning for about 45 minutes again but he waited to leave work until the numbness was gone so he wouldn't put himself or anyone else in danger. I found out which doctor he was going to and explained to my boss what was going on and left work early to meet him at the doctor. Of course there was a million things running through my mind and I was worried. I called him once I left work and that's when he told me it was his left arm, hand, and leg this time, and that's when I really started to freak out. I thought he was having a heart attack something was going on heart related. I beat him to the walk-in clinic (his choice to go there, not mine....men ;) I tried to talk him into going to the ER)  but he arrived shortly after I did. To say our experience at the walk-in wasn't pleasant would be an understatement. The "doctor" ruled it out as high blood pressure. Which didn't scare us since his twin brother and both parents have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is common and even my dad has high blood pressure. I still wanted to get a second opinion, but Matthew opted against it. They did blood work (I almost passed out) and put him on blood pressure medicine and told us buy a blood pressure monitor to monitor his blood pressure, eat a healthy diet, drink more water and to exercise 30 minutes a day. So we got the monitor and monitored his blood pressure frequently that afternoon, walked around our neighborhood and just rested. He started taking his blood pressure medicine the following morning.

Friday, March 25th: Our best friends, Ethan and Rachel came over after dinner to hang out. Matthew and Ethan were playing x-box and Rachel and I were catching up. In the middle of their game Matthew said, "Hey shel, don't freak out but my arm is numb again." I  told him we needed to go to the ER but he said no he would be fine, so I immediately got the blood pressure monitor and took his blood pressure...it was 156/102. Yes that's high, but we thought we had found the reasoning behind the numbness, high blood pressure! So I got him some water and we were just sitting around talking about it when all of a sudden his speech started slurring. He was completely cognitive, but he was trying to talk and it just wasn't coming out. We thought he was joking, and as soon as we realized he wasn't joking I gave him a pretty firm (Ethan said it was a teacher voice lol) "Let's go" and we all jumped up and put our shoes on and Ethan drove us to the ER. Thankfully it's only about 10-12 minutes away from our house. I called Matthew's parents on the way to the ER and they headed down there. Before I could even get him checked into the ER they took him back and were hooking him up to everything and ordering CT scans, EKG, etc. Note: When you are having heart attack/stroke symptoms and your blood pressure is through the roof ER's doctors/nurses do NOT waste any time....thankfully! They literally took him back for his CT scan about 10 minutes after being checked in. I went into the ER room he was going to be in and the nurse started pumping me for questions about his symptoms/family history. They brought him back and we waited for the ER doctor to read all his scans and update us. His blood pressure slowly came down as well, and they gave him more blood pressure medicine in his IV to help that. A little bit later the ER doctor came in and very quickly told us, all tests and scans came back normal, and to follow up with a neurologist on Monday morning at that hospital. He did say that if it happened again to come back into the ER, and that was it. We were kind of relieved and kind of still worried sick. We wanted to know what was causing everything. So we went home and got in the bed but I don't think either of us slept more than 30 minutes at a time.


Sunday, March 27th: Saturday came and went without any numbness, but I do believe we checked his blood pressure around 25 times, not even exaggerating. We were scared of it getting up too high and causing another spell. Thankfully it never got too high. Sunday night around 7:30 Matthew told me his arm was starting to go numb again. So we got our shoes on and I called his parents and told them we were headed to the hospital. This time Matthew wanted to go to the hospital in our hometown, which is about 40 minutes away. I asked if he was sure and he said yes, so I drove us to the hospital in Murfreesboro. I flew there and broke a few laws but I was determined to get us there quickly. We got him checked in and they finally took him back. He didn't loose his speech this time, but about half way to the hospital he told me it was getting a little hard to breath/swallow (please note: this is when the laws were broken.) They ran more tests and scans, and finally the ER doctor came in and saw him. This doctor was very blunt...blunt as in when Matthew's tests and scans came back all normal, again, he let out a big "well sh**" because he was just as stumped as everyone else. Not exactly the reaction we wanted from the DOCTOR, but that's what we got. He told us if it was just the numbness he would have dismissed it, everyone gets numbness in their limbs occasionally, but the speech slurring is what is "throwing him off".  He told us these spells Matthew was having sounded just like TIA's (Transient Ischemic Attack) AKA mini strokes, but he doesn't think they are mini strokes because it was migratory (the numbness was on each side of the body instead of just one. ) So he told us he wanted to transfer us to a hospital that is downtown Nashville that specializes in strokes and there was a neurologist scheduled to be there the following day. He told us it could be numerous things that were causing the TIA symptoms, a hole in his heart, MS, or other neurological disorders (this is where I almost threw up.)

 So a little after midnight we loaded up in an ambulance (we tried to drive, but it was protocol to be transferred by ambulance) and they transferred us downtown. Our ambulance crew was SO awesome. I had to sit up front and the lady driving was very sweet, and that was so comforting. The guy that rode in the back with Matthew was just a hoot! He had us laughing most of the way and our time together, He actually is taking online classes at Tennessee Tech to become an RN...such a small world :)

The ambulance ride was around 45 minutes and by time we got to the hospital and got to our new room it was well after 1 am. Matthew's parents were our saving grace during all of this. When we left the ER in Murfreesboro his mom drove my car and they ran by our house and got us clothes, toiletries, etc. and then they brought my car down to us at the hospital. They waited with us until the night time doctor came around to see what she said, but it was just the basic "getting to know you patient questions". She ordered a ton of more test and scans for the later that day (since technically it was already Monday.) After we got settled Matthew's parents went home to get a few hours of sleep before they came back the next day. We finally got to doze off around 3 am, and nurses were in and out very often ;) I think we got about an hour and a half of sleep, if that.

Monday, March 28th: We were up and prepared for them to come get Matthew early for his MRI, but they didn't come for his MRI or any other tests/scans until around 11:30. We were pretty frustrated since 1.) We obviously wanted answers. and 2.) Matthew wasn't able to eat until we got the results from everything, just in case he needed surgery for anything. Matthew's parents came back that morning and we all just sat around and talked to pass the time until they came and got him for his MRI. We were SO incredibly thankful to have them with us through everything, they kept us sane!

 I was able to go down with him for his MRI, I just sat outside in the MRI waiting area. It took about an hour for that. I have never had an MRI or heard one. It was so loud and just unsettling. I wanted to bad to be in there with him, but that wasn't an option. After his MRI they did a throat ultrasound and then a heart ultrasound to check and see if there was a hole in his heart. It was actually kind of interesting to watch the heart ultrasound. They put some type of dye in his IV and I have no idea how all of this works, but we could see it so into his heart, and if we saw it go out the other side then that would have confirmed the hole in his heart, but it didn't!! Praise The Lord! All of the MRI and ultrasound techs were incredibly sweet and answered ALL questions we had. So thankful for that because I had about a million. The heart ultrasound tech's name was Adele, although she didn't sing for us, she had some great Adele jokes, which really lightened the mood.

After about 3 hours we were back in his room and waiting on the neurologist to tell us the results of his tests/scans. It had been well over 15+ hours since Matthew had anything to eat of drink so I went to the nurses station and asked if he could have something. I was a little frustrated that they hadn't already gotten him something, but I know they are busy. The neurologist came in a little bit later and told us that all of his tests/scans came back normal. She said his brain looked really healthy and that the only thing she could see was his blood pressure was a little above average and that is was a little anemic, but neither of those would cause the TIA symptoms, and that it could be complex migraines. We were once again, so relieved but so confused. We wanted to know the cause of it, but also wanted everything to come back clear and normal. So she released him and told us to follow up with his primary doctor and an outpatient neurologist.


So here we are today, he has gone a week without any TIA symptoms. He had a few dizzy spells, but we think that was from taking the blood pressure medicine on an empty stomach. We have changed our diet a bit, eating healthier/low sodium foods and drinking a ton of water! During all of the scariness (Wednesday through Monday) Matthew lost around 16 pounds, that was definitely not by choice, but out of being completely terrified of what could be wrong. We are still eating healthier options and I picked up every Mrs. Dash seasoning our Wal Mart carried :) We have a follow up appointment with his outpatient neurologist in two weeks and we are anxious to hear what he has to say about everything. As much as we aren't supposed to, we have both done a ton of research (Hello Web MD, just kidding, I try to avoid that website as much as possible) on the symptoms he was having and what in the world could be causing it. From what we found, it sounds just like complex migraines. There are medications for them so he won't have anymore TIA symptoms, but that of course, all depends on what the outpatient neurologist has to say.

To say we are relieved/thankful that all his test/scans (3 CT scans, 3 EKG's, 1 full body MRI, heart ultrasound, throat ultrasound, and blood work) came back clear would be a huge understatement!
A huge thank you to Matthew's parents, they helped us out so, so much, and we probably would have lost our minds if it weren't for them! Both of our jobs were completely understandable about our time off, and told us to take as long as we needed. I absolutely loved that Matthew's job told him to make his health and whatever he needed to do to get better his number one priority. It's still busy season for Matthew, so I know missing work stressed him out to no end, but it is so reassuring to know they fully supported him. Our friends and family were great, too. Checking in often, and our outreach minister from church came to visit us while we were in the hospital. We are so incredibly blessed to be surrounded by precious family and friends. Thank you for all your sweet words on Friday, we appreciated them all!

13 comments:

  1. Wow, I'm so sorry y'all are going through all of this. Health related issues are so so scary and seem so out of our control. I am praying for all of Matthew's symptoms to leave for good, and for peace over both of y'all. So glad y'all have had family beside you in these hard days! Prayers for y'all!!

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  2. It totally freaked me out when you said you weren't concerned about high blood pressure. It is super common, but it's also one of the leading causes of death in this country. We have a similar situation bc my husband has migraines too, but a separate condition makes him ineligible for the normal migraine medication regimen. Waiting to hear back from our neurologist as well so I can understand how you feel. Going through the symptoms is terrifying. I hope that you and Matthew won't have to go through that again and that they can give you a definitive diagnosis soon

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  3. So, so scary! I am so glad he's ok, but I know how frustrating it is to not a 100% for sure answer either. Praying for you guys!

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  4. How scary!! I am glad that he is okay and hope it stays that way!
    www.amemoryofus.com

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  5. Oh my goodness, that's so scary!!! So glad his tests came back normal but I hope they are able to solidify what the problem is! I can't even imagine what y'all were going through with this continuing. Stephen showed TIA symptoms when we visited my parents in NC a few years ago, all tests came back normal but they said it wasn't a TIA because he hand numbness in his tongue and hand. It's super scary when they start slurring/not talking normal! Hope he continues to get better and doesn't get too stressed with missing work and having work!

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  6. Oh my gosh, how scary! Glad he seems to be on the mend!

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  7. Praying for peace and clarity on exactly what this may be!

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  8. Oh my goodness- I can't believe what all you guys have been dealing with. I will keep Matthew in my prayers and I hope you get all the answers/solutions you need as soon as possible♥

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  9. That is so scary, but I'm glad you have such a great family support system! Hopefully that was just a one time thing and an improved diet and exercise will hopefully help some. Glad you shared this because it might be able to help someone going through something similar!

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  10. Oh my goodness. I am so so sorry to read all that has been happening and going on. Sending lots of prayers and hoping that you get all of the answers/solutions that you need asap.

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  11. I'm so sorry that you had to go through all this! All those tests must have been so extremely stressful. Thank goodness for supporting families and jobs! So glad he's ok!
    Evelina @ Fortunate House

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  12. Oh gosh!!! I'm so sorry you all had to go through this! I hope that you all will get some answers at his next appointment! I can only imagine how scary it was seeing him sick like that. Prayers for both of you!!

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  13. Thank God he's okay! Have they looked at stress tests at all? Sometimes stress can exacerbate other symptoms.

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