Well here I am again- just about 3 weeks after the last post and I have a good excuse for once. Got the goats the second weekend of August. One week later, Jarell was hit by a splitting headache after doing… some strenuous stuff…. By splitting I mean my big strong manly man asked me to take him to the ER- he who had to be dragged there when his gall bladder was tearing him apart inside and he was so sick he threw up in the triage nurse’s trash can. So when my tough guy asked me to take him to the hospital and then carefully walked down the stairs to wait for me in the car so I wouldn’t have to carry him if he passed out (he came close a couple of times) I knew something was very wrong and although I’m pretty good at the calm under pressure thing, I was freaking out inside. We got to the hospital and unbeknownst to me the security guards thought he was drunk when he stumbled his way into the ER (I would have kicked their collective sorry asses if I had known this- you should never let a patient know you think they’re a drunk even if that is what you think inside!) When they took his blood pressure it was somewhere in the range of 22o over 110…. Yeah it was THAT bad! Again I didn’t know this til later because it was just the two of us so I dropped him off at the door and then had to go park the car. By the time they took a second reading, it was down to 190 over something- not much better, but you take what you can get. Between the splitting headache, his near inability to open his mouth to talk due to the tightness in his jaw, the tingling in his face and arms, and his high blood pressure, they got him in fast. (despite my first aid training over the years, I had forgotten that these were all signs and symptoms of a stroke which for me was a small blessing because I wouldn’t have been able to hold it together for him if I had remembered)
Fast forward nearly 8 hours and one CAT scan later and they admitted him because they had eliminated the possibility of a stroke, but wanted to make sure there was no bleeding, or meningitis and to do that they had to perform a lumbar puncture the next day. When they got us to a room around 5:30 Saturday morning, I was dead tired, and after he fell asleep, I was out despite the uncomfortable chair futon (in the thankfully private room) and I was dead to the world for about 3 hours before coming suddenly awake to see my in-laws standing next to Jarell’s bed. My mother in law had come to the hospital the night before with my little brother and J12, but I sent them home around 11 because my brother had to work the next morning. Now she and my father in law were standing there and the nurse came in so they were able to ask some questions.
The rest of the morning was a blur- I was beyond exhausted and my phone battery was nearly dead so all I could do was sit by Jarell and hold his hand when it didn’t hurt too much. Around 10 he had another severe attack and the nurses quiet urgency scared me more than if they had run around shouting orders- the tingling was back, along with the tightness in his jaw, the headache, and the high blood pressure. They were able to get it all to abate back to what Jarell said was a level 7 on a scale of 1-10 which was the best he had managed the whole time we were there, but I was getting more and more concerned. Around noon they took him for another CAT scan and I took the opportunity to make the world’s fastest Wal Mart run so I could get a charger for my phone, a book, and some stuff to knit because I needed to keep my hands and brain busy. I knew I needed something to eat, but the only thing that appealed to me was a box of Mike and Ikes so those went in the basket too.
Back at the hospital I made it back in time for the nurse to just be hooking Jarell back up to the heart monitor in his room. Then we waited another couple of hours for the lumbar puncture and that was the worst part for me- sitting there trying to read and worrying about all the things that might go wrong. He came back a little dopey but otherwise fine and shortly after that his parent’s came back, this time bringing KFC to try and coax him to eat something. He had a couple of Ensure’s and a little bit of macaroni and cheese, but didn’t feel up to the chicken.
Fortunately, my stomach chose that time to remind me that it had been 24 hours since it had anything besides a handful of Mike and Ikes so the chicken didn’t go to waste. That night passed a little less eventfully- I slept like the dead again for 5 hours this time and in the morning Jarell was doing much better. He was anxious and cranky and ready to get out of the hospital. His appetite was back which was the best news so while we waited on the doctor to see if she would send us home, he sent me to Panera Bread to get us some breakfast that was actually appetizing. Of course when I got back the doctor had come and gone and he remembered only the basics (which is pretty common for him on a good day) but the good news was we were going to get to go home.
By 11 we were out of there and by noon we were headed back after he attempted to simulate the cause of the first headache and brought on another one. 6 hours and another CAT scan later and we’re headed home again with an extra prescription that I had to pick up an hour and a half later putting me running on empty mentally driving home at 10 o’clock at night. Monday and Tuesday passed quietly with him trying to recover, and thinking he was going to be back to work quickly. Wednesday we had an appointment with a chiropractor and that was the best thing we could have done. The chiropractor spent a lot of time taking Jarell’s history, thoroughly going over even the most minute details, before doing an adjustment and remarking on how out his back was. He pointed us toward another doctor to see if his suspicions were correct so we had another appointment for the next day with that man. Thursday saw the first doctor’s suspicions confirmed and another appointment with him where he gave Jarell a dietary guideline to start following along with a food journal to fill out. The verdict- extreme hormonal imbalance, glands not functioning right, kidneys offline, parasites, and quite a few food allergies due to a leaky gut. The body was in panic mode and instead of sending out endorphins for pleasure, it was sending out bad stuff and causing pain. The world began to make sense again. Jarell and I made it through the weekend quietly with his pain mostly subsided. We made numerous trips to health food stores in the area and I cleaned all the processed foods out of our pantry. 9 grocery bags full of stuff was donated to a family who needed it and we started over from scratch. All the meals I am preparing now are almost entirely carb free- no sugars other than those found in the fruit we eat, no grains, but lots of eggs, meat, and veggies.
Last Tuesday, Jarell started taking supplements to get his hormones back in balance, and was able to go back to work. His mood has improved a great deal already and the food began making a difference almost immediately. He was soon able to do the things that caused the headache in the first place without any pain and after an acupuncture session, the headache that had lingered for a week and a half was finally gone entirely. Wednesday we go back to the doctor who checked him for the hormonal imbalances to see how the last two weeks have helped and I’ll be getting checked too to see what I need to work on. He’s down 10 pounds and so am I and aside from the feeling that I’m constantly thinking about food (you have to when you’re learning how to plan meals with no quick fixes available) I am loving the new healthy lifestyle we’re living. I’ve always been a lover of veggies and fruits, but Jarell was another story. He used to live on ramen noodles and canned ravioli and given the chance he always would. 2 years ago he ate nothing but ramen or macaroni and cheese every day for lunch because funds were low and those items were a cheap way to feed him and his brothers at work. I could never get him to eat healthy foods because he always picked out the “nasty vegetables” With this history, you can imagine my surprise when I made spaghetti squash with marinara sauce Friday evening, and he not only ate it, but told me it was better than pasta!
All this on top of my college math class has been kicking my butt so that is my long drawn out excuse for why I’ve been gone the last three weeks.
Edit: The hospital doctors were…. less than helpful. They told Jarell he had had a thunderclap headache and that those often caused bleeding but his hadn’t. Cleared for aneurysms, stroke, meningitis, and anything else, but the blood work showed some things were off. Basically the hospital said, “You’re perfectly healthy- go home and take lots of medicine cuz we don’t know how to fix you.” I was pretty appalled by their lack of… interest? If he had one symptom they threw one pill at him and when it caused a side effect they threw another one at him until he was on a ton of meds with no end in sight but plenty of possibility for added complications caused by all the medications.