Tuesday, October 13, 2009

a week of hell

Last week, on Tuesday morning, a powerful headache took control of me, and it hasn't gone away. Yesterday I spent much of the day vomiting from pain. I haven't left my house since last Friday, and then I felt too unwell from the pain to drive.

It's another bout of aseptic meningitis. I haven't had one since 1996, and I thought it was over for good. I have a rare syndrome where I have repeated episodes of aseptic meningitis. A neurologist once confided in me he was going to write a medical journal article about me, saying he thought I was setting a record for this syndrome of Most Meningitises Ever, yay me; I wonder if he ever did. For the worst episode, I was hospitalized for a week. During other episodes, I was hospitalized for a night. This time, however, I have no doctor, and so I'm getting through the whole thing with only over-the-counter generic Motrin. In the wee hours of Monday, I actually felt like killing myself to put myself out of my own misery, but my head hurt too badly for me to actually do anything involving leaving my bed (and every time I changed positions, the pain was agonizing).

Today I still feel like hell; it particularly hurts behind my eyeballs, but compared to yesterday, I seem to be on the mend. The Sober Husband pulled my "meningitis FAQ" out of the files (a list of all the times I had meningitis, all the places I was hospitalized, etc..) and was working the phones today to try to get me in with a doctor, with no luck. (I tried out one doctor already since my dear Dr. Scott moved to Kaiser Oakland, but I don't want to see him again, and a friend's recommendation isn't accepting new patients, etc.., etc..).

In the middle of this, I had to pull it together for Lola's birthday party. As soon as the last guest left, I immediately went back to bed, skipping dinner. Lola's party went perfectly, and I don't think anyone noticed me continually chugging Motrins. That was difficult, but not the hardest thing I've done during these episodes.

I actually passed the California State Bar at the end of a meningitis episode. I got special permission from the Bar to bring my prescription painkillers to the bar exam (I had a doctor back then to write me prescriptions). I was doped to the gills on painkillers, but I squeaked through. I wanted to postpone it, assuming I wouldn't pass with all the painkillers and the, you know, actual pain, which doesn't help one's thinking, but the law firm I was joining took a dim view of that. I was told that it would look better for me to fail the bar than to fail to take the bar, which would make me look like a flake, whatever medical excuse I had.

If you live in San Francisco and have a competent physician, please leave me a recommendation in the comments. I promise I will be more entertaining to you as soon as this awful fucking headache goes away.


Missy said...

I hope you feel better soon and get a decent doctor to take care of you. Hugs, Missy

Carol Ann said...

I hope you feel better soon. As for me, my goal is to move to England, where the pharmacist at Boots could give me 32 Tylenols with Codeine for 99 pence. What a country!

Liberal Jewess said...

My husband sees the chief of Neurosurgery at the Stanford Epilepsy Center, Dr. Fisher. I have chronic migraine, and asked him who he would recommend for a referral from my current neurologist (who is adequate, but nothing special). I was expecting him to name someone at Stanford, but he told me the place to go was the UCSF Headache center. I understand that your problem is not migraine, but it appears the Center treats headaches of many etiologies.

I just have to work up the courage to ask my rather defensive neurologist for the referral at my next visit.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Thank you, LIberal Jewess (great name, incidentally). I do also suffer from migraine, sign. I live quite near UCSF, where I gave birth to the mutants, and I did end up going to their ER last night with good results.