Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Why self diagnosis is not so good an idea

I could have sworn that I had written a post title similar to this before but I must have dreamt about doing such a post because a previous one does not exist.  I really should stop assuming I know what I am doing or have done.  Which leads me nicely into today's title.....

For those people that one person who reads this blog regularly you will know I have a history of severe migraine.  So much so that I begged for an operation and eventually got only took 10 years of trying to convince doctors that I knew what I needed.  Anyhoo, after said operation the days of severe blinding pain, twice a week on average, were mostly a thing of the past.  

I may be the only person on the planet to be happy the day I got a headache, a normal headache, because it was the first I had experienced since I was 13 years old.  Good old paracetamol but that baby to rest and my life improved tremendously.  No longer did I have to wear sunglasses during a cloudy day when driving the car and no longer did the LED headlights in cars blind me at night.  It sounds silly to those that have never experienced a migraine but it was like being born anew. 

I still get migraines but in the main I do not get the pain but still experience some other warnings such as a heightened sense of smell, dizziness, feeling sick and aversion to bright light and no, alas it doesn't mean that I have been bitten by vampire.  Damon, where for art thou Damon?

Again, those side effects take much longer to make themselves known and so it has taken me a while to recognise a migraine a number of times and my trusty pills get rid of them swiftly.  Life is good.

So, where am I going with this long winded tail?  

I took myself off to London on the train two weeks ago for a work meeting with suppliers.  Although being the scribe is not normally the most important job in the room, it was this time as I was the only one available to do it.  I had an early night but struggled to sleep, in part due to noisy teenage girls falling in their bedrooms at 3.30am.  I woke at 6am with the most blinding pain I have had since I was 27 years old.  My migraines were making a comeback with a vengence.  I was dizzy, I felt like I wanted to throw up and all I wanted to do was take a wonder drug and snuggle up back in bed.  

I deduced 2 hours later that there was no way I was going to make it to the supplier meeting on the tube without doing a wonderful impression of the girl from The Exocist and paid £20 for a cab ride to the venue.  Overpriced yes but at that time it took 45 minutes to move what must have been 3 miles.  I could have walked faster had I not been in danger of wandering dizzily into the road.  I promised the driver I wouldn't throw up in his Mercedes and had my head almost out of the window like an over-excited dog most of the time. 

My manager arrived at the venue, took one look at me and promptly ordered me onto a train and home.  Alas, if I hadn't been able to handle a taxi ride all to well then I wasn't going to make a 4 hour train journey home.  I felt mildly better than I had when I first woke up and spend the day scribing away hoping that I would continue to improve during the day.

I made it to the end of the day and to the train station on the tube no less but all I will say is that I am lucky there was an escalator waiting to take me to the surface becuase I may well have looked slightly drunk when exiting the train carriage.

Obviously, it had to be close to 30 degrees celcius on the tube and the first thing I ordered was a large drink with ice and knowing I needed to eat something and not being able to face anything else I ordered some fries.  Darn WH Smith for having run out of bananas!  I managed 3 of those fries while telling Hubby how sick and dizzy I felt.  Yes, it worked he had everything ready to tuck me up in bed when I arrived home at 10pm that night.  What had started out as a bad journey was horrendous by the time I got nearer to home; fast trains rocking from side to side did not help.

I took another migraine wonder drug the following day after calling into work sick and stayed in bed and slept most of the day.  By the end of the day I was fed up and although having not eaten a tremendous amount the thought of food was enough to have been running to the bathroom.  

The following day the migraine pain had gone but I was left with the dizziness and sickness.  There was no way that I could do much of anything and even reading a book made me feel ill.  Although feeling as sick as a dog I was bored.  So I slept, a lot...for 4 days.  I hardly ate because every time I tried I felt even sicker.

I started moving around more on Monday last week and during a trip to the doctors to collect a prescription I made the mistake of getting into a lift and almost losing what little food I had eaten.  Then I had an epiphany.  I know, right!  It only took a week.  Maybe this migraine wasn't a migraine after all.

So I asked to see a GP and by some miracle I could see one in an hour.  Maybe it wasn't a miricle, maybe it was because the receptionist saw that I was a nice shade of green.

The GP told me my blood pressure was a bit high but she put that down to the fact that we were experiencing what we would affectionately call a heatwave that day (everyone else would consider it mildly warm) and the fact that I felt like throwing up breakfast.

She asked me questions about the dizziness and during the conversation asked more pertinent questions than I had managed to ask myself in the week that I felt like the world was spinning such as; 'What happens when you move your head left or right?  What about up and down?  Does you feel sick and dizzy all the time?  Do those feelings get worse when you move your head?'

My responses: I want to throw up and I feel drunk.  The same as when I move my head left and right. No, it comes in waves and is not as bad as it was when I had the worst of the migraine. Yes.

To which her response was 'You do not have a migraine; you have vertigo.'  Whoops!  Apparently I did have a migraine, however, likely brought on by the onset of vertigo.  Likely brought on by a virus experienced in the last few months or being run down.  Rachel is putting it down the latter and my flexi hours sheet for work would tend to back that up.  So far I could have nearly 2 weeks leave off without having to take any annual leave.

 The residual feelings were not still a migraine but the symptoms of what is a milder case of vertigo than some people do.  I would hate to be one of those people that suffer it worse than I am because OH MY WORD!  I am sick of feeling drunk all the time.  And to make it worse the sun is shining, it is hot and I should be in the garden sunbathing but that makes me feel urgh at the moment for some reason.  

Worst of all, the GP signed me off work for a week and a whole week later I still cannot return to work because I am still feeling drunk but not as drunk as I was.  The sickness isn't as bad but again, it still comes in waves.  Saturday I felt awful and I slept 16 hours.

So there we have it.  Vertigo not a migraine and self diagnosis is a pretty stupid thing to do.  As is buying plants for the hanging baskets and needing to pot them but that is what I am going to do.   If I feel sick afterwards I will lie on the sunlounger and rest.




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