Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Anyone In The Middle Of The Bar Exam Is Not Allowed To Read Here Right Now

I'm serious! If you are taking the bar exam, you are not allowed to read here right now. You know who you are! Come back Thursday night :) I want you focusing. You may call if you need me, or want to blow off nervousness, but you are not to read here until after your last test. If I find out that you read here before Thursday afternoon, I will go to your house and take back that book that I bought you! And you KNOW which one I mean! I'm serious. I'll do it! Come back Thursday. Not before. Ok? Promise? Promise on your final exam scores? ;) Good! Bye to all "bar exam takers!" Really. I'm dead serious. Go away now! Shooo! Bye! :)

Ok... is the coast clear? Everyone still reading is NOT in the middle of their bar exam right? Ok...

Let's put in some spoiler space just in case.

Ok then....

I just blacked out.

I'm ok. -Really I'm ok. I wouldn't be able to sit up to type if I wasn't ok. But I haven't blacked out fully since I was about 19 and had a high fever. And it was very different then. There have been times when I had a high fever and felt like I was going to black out and I lay down before it happened, which I kind of did this time too, (I didn't fall, I "sunk") but I really just blacked out.

As you may notice, my last post was from around 3am this morning. About 3-4 days a month (in sets of 2 and 2) I sometimes get insomnia. It's a hormone thing. No biggie. I'm used to it. I used to try to catch up on the 4 hours or so of sleep that I'd lost, but I've found that I often don't need that extra sleep on those days. My body is just "up." Not hyper, just "awake."

So, last night was one of those insomnia nights. Annoying, but again, I'm used to it and know it won't last for more than 2 days or so (and it's the right time of month for it too.). But instead of not sleeping well or not sleeping as much, I didn't sleep at all. That's the first time that's happened. I got up for a bit at one point, then lay down again. Still didn't fall asleep. Had some tea. Had warm milk.... nuttin.' I've never been awake the entire night from insomnia without sleeping even a few scattered hours here and there.

At around 8am I fell asleep. At about 9am there was a knock on my front door. I think I was half asleep at the time. I wasn't woken out of a deep sleep.

I got up and went to the door, and there was my neighbor cheerfully asking if I wanted to go to Costco. I felt groggy and headachey from no sleep and told her I wasn't sure if I could because I hadn't slept and should probably go back to bed. Then her phone rang (her ride to Costco) and she started talking to them. I tried to interrupt and say "I really need to go lie down again. If I'm up in an hour or two I'll let you know, if not, I think I need to sleep." but I couldn't get that in. She kept talking and I thought I should just wait and not be rude. I felt tired and headachey and I propped myself up against the door frame and waited. A few more times I tried to interrupt and say "I'm going to go lie down" but it didn't work. So again, I waited... Then things very quickly went black!

I remember sitting myself down, and as I did I knocked into the door and it slammed shut. I heard that. The next thing I heard was my neighbor knocking on the door and calling my name. I opened it, I was sitting on the ground and I could see again. She was crying and the phone was gone. Of course I then went into "take care of her mode!"

-This is why NOBODY is allowed to be around me if I'm not feeling well. I am great in a crisis. Even my own! Other people I know fall apart, and I then need to take care of them. That's fine when it's their crisis. It's really problematic if the crisis is MINE! ;) I would rather be alone than have to worry about, take care of, and possibly argue with someone who's freaking out when I'm the one who needs help! (Does anyone else know what I'm talking about?)

So anyway, I opened the door (I was sitting right next to it and hadn't closed it intentionally. I'd just knocked into it when I sunk to the floor!) I was still sitting on the floor and I could see her fine at this point. I told her "I'm sorry I scared you. I was trying to tell you I really need to go to bed. I just needed to sit down. I didn't sleep at all last night. I don't think I can go." She was still crying, but I was having a "normal conversation" with her (albeit sitting on the floor!) so she relaxed and said she'd call me later. I closed the door and stood up to get myself back into bed -which was about 6 steps away. The door to my room is adjacent to the front door of the apartment.

I stood up without any difficulty, took those few steps, felt a wave of nausea and thought "oh no... d*mn it!" I flopped down on the bed and the nausea came and went. But I figured "I'm lying down now. This is good. It's what I need." Then the hands and feet started to get clammy. In and out. I figured "Ok well that's residual. That'll stop." The nausea came and went a bit more then started settling down, but the hands and feet thing kept going in and out. Then my intestines started to "act funny." Like they were quitting on me. I thought "Seriously? Am I about to lose control of them?" then I heard a hissing sound. Like the steam had suddenly come on my radiator. But that didn't make sense. And it was getting louder. And I thought, "Is this sound coming from inside or outside my head?" because I couldn't tell. So I put my fingers in my ears to check and it was definitely coming from inside my head. It wasn't a "ringing" sound, and it wasn't a heartbeat sound. I swear it sounded like steam. Like a hissing sound, and it was getting louder (really loud!) and the intestines were kind of "going" on me and I thought "I'm lying down... what the heck else can I do?" -And I wasn't scared, because I wasn't in any pain, and I wasn't having any trouble breathing or anything like that. I was just basically, dispassionately observing my body going into SHOCK!

The only other thing I could do was raise my legs, so I put my pillow under them and folded a body pillow in half and put that under them too. Then I lay there and thought -again, really calmly and a bit incredulously- "That's all I can do! This should be getting better..." It took about 5 minutes, I think, until it started to settle down. The intestines stopped shutting down, the hissing eventually got quieter (but not for a while), the nausea went away, and though my hands and feet were still cool, they weren't clammy and weren't going "in and out" as much.

While I was lying there and not getting better, I thought "how far is this going to go from here, since I'm continuing to go into shock?.... am I going to die?" -Again, I wasn't afraid. Just kind of curious. I wasn't sad about it. I was fine with the idea. I checked my pulse and it wasn't noticeably problematic. Wasn't obviously racing or irregular. I thought about how nothing was in order for me to die (I've been trying to do all that for about a year or two now. Paperwork and stuff. -It's that "Adrian Monk" part of me ;) ) and I thought about whether or not that bothered me. I was surprised when I realized that it didn't. That if things didn't go to exactly this person or that person, or if it all ended up at a thrift store, in that moment, if I'd died right then, it was ok with me. -Talk about letting go of attachments! Now that I'm feeling better I'm back to thinking "I'd really want so and so to get this, and so and so to get that..." -but in that moment, I was really ok with whatever happened. I was at peace. It's nice. I've said that I don't think I'm afraid to die. That what I have always been afraid of was suffering. But I wasn't suffering.

Anyway, it took about 30 minutes for my body to calm down. After about 20, once I could sit up long enough to grab the phone, get a number, dial and lie back down, I called my neighbor and apologized again. I admitted to her that I actually had blacked out when she saw me on the floor (what I'm not sure about is how long. I think it was just seconds but her phone was gone when I opened the door to her so it might have been longer. I'll ask her later). I told her I hadn't just sat down because I was tired. I also told her I was ok now.

When I got off the phone with her I checked my blood pressure. I have a small battery operated BP cuff (and a "real" one but there was no way I was going to be able to use that in that moment) and I'd thought of checking my BP while I was going into shock but hadn't really seen the point. I knew it'd be screwy. But now that I was feeling better I was curious. The funny thing was that while I was taking my blood pressure I started hearing a hissing sound again, and I thought "OMFG... again???! Why? Is it being caused by the BP cuff???" -Then I realized, the hissing (this time) was the BP cuff -It hisses as it deflates (Doh! ;) )

My numbers were waaay close together. Something like 73/67. Not unusual for someone IN shock but not so great once you're supposedly doing better! I checked it 3 more times over the next 2 hours. Most of my symptoms were gone except I felt a little light headed, but not too bad, and my hands were still cold, but not clammy. The other symptoms were gone. The BP pretty much remained the same and only fluctuated by a few points and didn't normalize over the next few hours. (For you non-medical people, the 2nd number isn't so bad, but the first shouldn't drop below 90, and both numbers should never be within 10 digits of each other.) That shouldn't be happening 2 hours later. Especially since I'd been lying down and had tried to fall back to sleep -and found that I WASN'T TIRED!!! -Can you imagine?

I ate, and drank 2 cups of water to try to raise the blood/fluid volume in my body, to see if that would help. (Kind of the equivalent of putting in an IV except not as direct, and it would have been ineffective before the darned organs came back to full functionality.)

And that's where I am now.

WEIRD. I have no idea why it happened. I know I didn't sleep last night, and I know that I was tired, but.... so? Generally I sleep ok, but on nights where I haven't that's never happened. Ever. So why this time? I've been eating fine. I even had milk at around 3am to see if that'd help me sleep. As far as I know I wasn't dehydrated. I tend to get my 8-12 cups of water a day. I'm very good about that. I'm not sick... I'm not on any medications for anything in any way.

I'd like to go to sleep now (since that's the most likely cause of this) but I'm not tired. Plus I just ate, and with intestines that were trying to shut down a couple of hours ago I am SO staying upright for a bit to make sure everything stays IN and DOWN where it's supposed to! -So far it's fine.

I have a slight headache, but very slight. My hands are still a little cold which is unusual for me. I've had 2 cups of water but I have to wait for a bit before I have more.

I really don't feel that bad. I feel like I didn't get a full night's sleep, but if I hadn't passed out and started going into shock a few hours ago, I'd be going about my regular day. But now? Especially with my blood pressure not normalizing, I don't think I'll be going out and running any errands today! I'm going to try to go back to sleep whether my body thinks it's tired or not, drink and eat every hour or so (whether I feel like it or not), watch the blood pressure, and I'm TOTALLY NOT going to Costco! ;)

So... How's YOUR morning been so far? ;)

Update: 3 hours later (6 since it happened) my BP is good. Now it's actually a bit high! ;) But I just ate so that could be why. So basically, no more weird symptoms. Everything is pretty much where and how it should be. Oh, and I asked my neighbor how long I was unconscious for and she said about 10 seconds. So a little longer than I'd thought (I thought 2 or 3 seconds) but not super long. -Back to resting.
Update #2: It's almost 11pm now. This happened at around 9am this morning. I'm fine. My hands aren't cold anymore, I've been eating and drinking throughout the day and everything is "working" the way it should ;) No more weird symptoms, and I put the BP cuff away by around 6pm. I'm a little tired but not "worrisome" tired. Not exhausted. I slept for about 2 more hours this afternoon (not for lack of trying!) and I'm hoping I'll sleep more tonight. I still don't know what the heck caused that. That's never happened before. Whatever it was, it'd be really nice if that was the end of it! It seems to be. I'm going to try to sleep again. Good night.



Athena said...

OMG, please rest and be careful. Prayers are with you.


Melissa said...

Hi Athena. I'm ok. I just added a 2nd Update to the end of the post. It seems to have passed, but it was a strange day. Thank you for the prayers :)

Vanessa said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers, please take this seriously. Maybe the neighbor or a relative can come check on you? Please call the doctor and at least report this incident so it gets charted for future reference should anything else happen. Please be careful!

*ok, lots of please's there, but seriously, be careful and make sure someone knows what happened so they can check on you!

Nora Bee said...

How scary! I totally have had that hissing thing when I feel faint, you described it well. Take care of yourself now, you hear?

MP said...

holy crap!!
Are you going to follow up w/ your MD?
You should..
Scary stuff!

Melissa said...

Hi everyone,

Thank you. I want to respond to each of you but right now this is going to be a quick comment to let you all know that I'm still ok. I slept and I'm fine today -A bit freaked out still (to be honest!) but physically fine. I'm trying to catch up on some stuff I had to do yesterday, but I'll try to post again later (and I'll also leave a better comment!)

I'm really feeling ok. Nothing else weird has happened.

Alice said...

MY GOSH, how scary... i've had a weird thing happen similar to that before, but i'm pretty sure mine was due to heatstroke. i HATE not knowing why stuff like that happens! i'm so glad you're feeling better... eek.

Joe said...

Glad you are feeling better! Might you have hit your head when you passed out?

Melissa said...

Okee dokee, let's do some "real" answers now! :)

athena: Thank you again. I'm ok. And I'll take prayers any time :) And I saw that you were checking back, so thank you for that too.

vanessa: Thank you too. The doctors aren't worried, so I'm not going to be either. I think it was just weird random "something" from not sleeping all night. I mean I knew I was tired as I was leaning against the doorway waiting for her to get off the phone, but I wasn't expecting to pass out!

That part was certainly a bit unnerving, but what concerned me more was what had happened afterwards. I figured I'd get into bed and get back to sleep! Problem solved! Except that's when I started going downhill and *that's* what was freakish to me. If I'd blacked out, then gotten into bed and been ok, it still would have concerned me a bit but I would have shrugged it off more.

nora bee: Ok so you've had hissing? I've NEVER heard that before! I googled it afterwards and it seems to be interchangeable with ears ringing. It looked like it's the same kind of thing and your ears can hiss or ring (or I think it also said "chirp like crickets?") and it's all the same thing. It doesn't seem to mean anything significant if it does one vs the other.

But I'd NEVER heard that, and it was getting SO LOUD which is why I thought it might be in my head because nothing in my room could have been making that sound! And when I put my fingers in my ears and the sound got louder, not softer, I realized that's where it was coming from (and I put my fingers in my ears about 3 more times during it just to be sure because it was so weird!)

This morning, I was in my kitchen which has a radiator that hisses (the one in my room does not) and as I listened to it I thought "Yeah... THAT'S what it sounded like. It sounded JUST like that" -but it was everywhere, and louder. -And I wasn't in the kitchen when it happened! Lol!

mp: It's more scary after the fact. And odd. It may sound strange to say this but I wasn't really scared during it, because, like I said, I wasn't in pain or having any trouble breathing. I think if I had I would have felt panic. Instead I was just kind of observing. I don't think I was scared during it. When I was 19 and blacked out I wasn't scared either and talked my friend through the whole thing. Maybe I'll write about that sometime. It was very different.

alice: Heat stroke can be scary. I'm glad you were/are ok.

joe: Hi Joe :) I don't think I hit my head. I was leaning against the wall and kind of sunk/sat myself down when I started to black out. When I came to (and heard my neighbor knocking on the door and calling my name) I was seated and leaning against the wall. So I don't think I hit it on anything. I also don't have any kind of bump or sore spot (and I just double checked to be sure!). -Good question though :)

Thank you, again, everybody, for the comments. It's been very strange and just... "weird." I appreciate all of you taking the time to say something.

Cammy said...

It's Thursday evening. I swear I am now permitted to read this....

OMG, scary! *HUGS* Are you feeling okay right now? Do we need to assemble a group to come up and take care of you for a change since you always take care of everyone else?

Mac and Cheese said...

Is being unnaturally calm a symptom of all this? I'd have called 911 at the start of this episode. I hope you are still feeling well, but you really should run this by a doctor at some point in the near future.

Mac and Cheese said...

...in addition, how do you even know what going into shock feels like???

Melissa said...

Mac: Good questions :)

1) Being unnaturally calm is a symptom of being "me" ;) I am extremely calm in emergencies. If a situation gets more intense, I may go past calm into "numb" but I generally don't go the other way into "frantic." After a crisis situation has passed, and everyone is safe and taken care of, I will sometimes have a delayed reaction and the emotional toll of what happened will sometimes "hit me" then.

2) Some people may be calm if they're going into shock (and it's important to keep them calm if they're not) but typically, people are anxious. Especially in later stages of shock, which I wasn't in. I don't know if I would have stayed calm then. Hopefully I'll never find out!

3) I worked as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) for many years. So while I didn't know, first hand, what shock "felt" like, I know what the symptoms are and I understood what was happening to my body and what needed to be done to fix it.

In my situation, it would have been very unusual for me to continue going downhill and just "die" and I knew that. But for those 5 minutes or so when I was getting worse instead of better, I did think "well, it'd be unusual, but it's not impossible, and since so far this isn't improving... wow...it is possible..."

* If anyone still reading the comments from this post wants to learn or know more about shock in very basic terms, I can write about it, and explain it in ways that will make sense to all of you. -I used to teach this stuff too ;) Let me know here or in private.

Melissa said...

Cammy: Ok, you get to keep the book ;)

And congratulations on making it through. We all knew you could :)