When is a cold not a "cold?" Here's when!

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Sarita
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 3/14/2008 7:24 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey team,
I left a clinic on Monday and within hours spiked a 104-degree fever. That paved the way for a more impressive 105-er the next day, coupled with a splitting neck and headache. Mmm, the student thinks - maybe this is meningitis. Off went the dutiful student to the emergency department, where the recently-graduated physician assistant dove in with a chest x-ray, blood cultures, and the ever-so-fun, notorious lumbar puncture procedure. That's really the only test for meningitis, so I agreed to have it done. It's not as bad a procedure as you might think. It wasn't a big deal whatsoever. I lay flat on my back afterwards and when the test came back negative, I was allowed to go home. Once I started sitting up, the headache went from a 5- or 6- on the pain scale to a full-fledged 10! "Ow," I muttered to myself, then asked the nurse, "Um, is there anything you can give me for this head pain before I go?" Pop, and the morphine was injected. I was sent on my way.

Fast forward several hours later; I am lying flat on my back at home. Lying flat is A-OK. When I get up to pee, I start projectile vomiting; my head feels like layers are being peeled off by an invisible and sadistic gremlin hiding under my bed (or something). For the rest of the day, I do not move a muscle if I can possibly help it. But this causes problems, because I can't eat or drink anything, and meanwhile I am soaking my PJs every hour as my fever breaks. Get up to change 'em - time for a puke-fest! But Sarita, don't you need to have diarrhea, as usual, you might say? Oh yes, another puke-fest. Finally, at midnight, as I am shivering in my clammy bed, too beleaguered to fight, I ask my fiance to drive me back to the ED.

On the way out to the car I hurled in the parking lot outside of our quiet building not just once, but twice. In the triage area of the hospital, as I'm heaving, they are having trouble getting a blood pressure reading. I beg them to let me lie down. Eventually a doc comes in and tells me I have a post-lumbar-puncture spinal headache. It is caused by a leakage of cerebrospinal fluid that causes a drop in pressure in the spinal column; it actually pulls the meninges (the protective layers around your spinal cord) back towards the base of your skull. DisGUSTing. Eventually again, of course, I have to have diarrhea. I drag myself to the bathroom with a bucket in tow, and sure enough I am not one but TWO garden hoses working in unison.

The treatment at first was IV morphine, Zofran, saline and caffeine. 9 hours later an anesthesiologist drew 30 cc's of blood from my arm and injected that into the lumbar puncture site. This is called a "blood patch" and served the purpose of forming a clot around the "leaky" spot in my spinal column.

I left at noon yesterday feeling like someone had just played murderball with my lumbar spine, but infinitely better today.

Just a story I thought I'd share. DO NOT get a lumbar puncture unless you absolutely need one. And yes, if you have a very high fever and headache, you probably do need one! Not all of them will end up like mine did!
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Canyonbabe711
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1451
   Posted 3/14/2008 12:55 PM (GMT -7)   
So sorry you had to go thru that. I would have thought they would have warned you about the headache as that is pretty well known side effect of any puncture to spine even anesthesia but particular with lumbar puncture. Am glad you got clear for menigitis. I can certainly understand you concern.

Treester
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 73
   Posted 3/14/2008 3:47 PM (GMT -7)   
OMG, I'm so sorry you've had such a rotten couple of days! I hope you're on the mend.

Take care.

gutastrophe
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 319
   Posted 3/14/2008 11:30 PM (GMT -7)   

OMG!  Sarita, what a disgusting nightmare!  No wonder you've been MIA from the forum for the last few days!  You poor poor thing.

Tell me, when you did not regsiter a BP:  isn't that sort of, um, dangerous????


Easta
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 124
   Posted 3/15/2008 7:58 AM (GMT -7)   
What a hideous experience!! The headache alone would be horrendous. I know from when I have migraine that I couldn't care if the atom bomb dropped because I feel so ill.

So sorry you had to go through this but pleased you are on the mend.

Frightening really how we can toddle on day to day then wham! A really scarey few days for you.

softy
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2004
Total Posts : 798
   Posted 3/15/2008 9:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh Sarita ... I sincerely wish your body would give you a much needed break.  Glad it wasn't meningitis but sorry you had to go through that.  You will make the most awesome compassionate doctor, come to my city, come to my city ... :-)
Take care, Softy
 


7Lil
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3269
   Posted 3/16/2008 1:58 AM (GMT -7)   

Good grief, Sarah!!!!!  You still can't catch a break, now can you?  I am so sorry to read about your horrendous experience.  I'm just happy you're feeling better now.  Did they ever find out what was initially wrong with you?

**I miss you, girl... I will email you privately.

 


Sarita
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 3/16/2008 4:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Dudes! You won't believe this, but the effects of the blood patch have been wearing off...it appears this CSF leak is persisting! I haven't been consistently projectile vomiting, THANK GOODNESS (that whole experience topped a growing list of "Sarita's most hideous medical stories," I'm sure you would agree) but I cannot sit up for longer than 1-2 minutes without feeling very, very sorry. My friend's uncle, a family doctor, told me this is not uncommon and that the only solution would be to see a neurologist and get another blood patch on Monday. I'm not going back to the ER, that's for darn sure.

Okay, time to go back to a fully supine position...I'll update you as this progresses. You guys are awesome, thank you for commiserating with me.
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gutastrophe
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 319
   Posted 3/16/2008 9:33 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh man, your story is making me very grateful that all I have is bloat, cramps, and constipation.  Sounds like you are in hell, girl!  I'm feeling for ya!

Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 3/20/2008 2:54 PM (GMT -7)   
Gosh, did anyone do a flu test on you first??? It's all over the place here and headaches, dizziness and vomiting are common.

Sarita
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 3/22/2008 6:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Keri, I've never heard of any test for the flu! No, no one checked anything before doing the lumbar puncture...the problem with meningitis is that you need to catch that thing as early as possible before it completely jacks you up, so that's why they rushed the LP. I wish they hadn't, of course, now that I look back. All these upper respiratory infections can be so hard to differentiate. I do know that I will be getting my flu shots from now on...even though they only work on certain strains.
Co-moderator - IBS Forum


Keriamon
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 3/24/2008 9:28 AM (GMT -7)   
They did a flu test on me a few weeks ago. They swab the inside of your nose and then put it in a chemical mixture; if it turns some color, you have the flu virus (I'm sure it's limited to picking up only certain flu viruses--as in the ones they're seeing the most of).

Be careful of the flu shot if you have bad allergies or reactions to a lot of medicines. My mother's allergist told her to never take the flu shot, as she was allergic to too many things, and you never can tell what inactive ingredients they might be mixing into this year's batch. So, even though she worked in a hospital, she never got a shot. I think she got the flu twice in like two decades.
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