I am looking for some opinions and experiences from people who have dealt with or suffer from hemiplegic migraine.
My wife Ros and I have just had the worst Christmas and New Year ever. Basically my wife is a migraine sufferer and also happens to be 38 weeks pregnant. She has been in hospital since Christmas Eve and I have been required by the hospital to provide support and care 24/7 due to the seriousness of her condition.
Two weeks ago Ros suffered the most serious migraine attack I have ever witnessed her have, severe headache on left side accompanied by visual disturbance (black spots and loss of sight in one eye), numbness and partial paralysis down one side and also speech disruption.
I rushed her to A&E because of her insistence and also her pregnant condition, the labour team advised that this was necessary. The medical doctors there diagnosed hemiplegic migraine. We were in hospital for two days, then Ros seemed to improve to a relatively normal state and was discharged. She was still tired and had the usual dull headache that she normally gets, but I wasn't too concerned as she seemed to be on the mend.
On Christmas Eve night Ros had a second attack. This was on the “other side” (right side) of her head as she described it. Her speech was not affected this time apart from mild slurring, but after we went to A&E once more her condition deteriorated over the course of 24 hours. Her headache became intolerable with constant severe pain made worse by sitting up or lying down to the point that she would scream in agony. Her left arm became almost completely numb and paralysed (doctor rated it as having strength 1 out of 5) and she became severely agitated and also confused.
Ros was admitted to the maternity ward to begin with and put on simple pain killers (paracetamol, codine and oral morphine) which had little effect on the pain, mostly just knocking her out a bit. However after the symptoms continued for two days and she developed a fever of 38.5°C she was transferred to the neurological ward and subjected to a CT scan which returned no abnormalities and also extensive blood tests which also showed no infection.
Ros then developed a bladder infection which was treated with IV antibiotics. She was very dehydrated and was put on an IV fluid drip which she remains on even now.
Eventually, on 28th December after no real improvement in her condition, Ros was transferred by ambulance to the Coventry university hospital for assessment. Here, due to their concern with her symptoms, they started the tests again. This time an MRI scan showed abnormalities in the electrical signals in her brain and a lumbar puncture showed an increase in white blood cells in her spinal fluid. However, the neuro consultants said that the scans did not show any typical signs of stroke or tumour.
This brings us to today where Ros remains in hospital on the neuro rehab ward and is now on a course of steroids aimed at reducing inflammation in the small-vessels of the brain. we are on day 6 of the second attack and her symptoms still include severe headache, nausea, numbness and paralysis of her left arm and left side of face, slightly slurred speech (but not garbled speech), confusion, visual impairment of the left eye. Her bladder infection and fever has thankfully been cured though.
The neuro team have admitted that they do not know exactly what they are dealing with at the moment and they are continuing observations and tests.
So, I'm really looking for any experienced that others may have had in a similar vein and how long should I expect the symptoms to continue for on average. Has anybody had a similar attack and how did it pan out?
Many thanks for any support and advice you can offer.