Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Trip to the ER

Let me begin by saying that both babies and I are currently healthy!  However, we did have a bit of a scare the other evening.  

On Monday evening around 5pm, I happened to look in the mirror and smile.  I'm not sure why I randomly decided to smile at myself in the mirror, but I did.  And I noticed that the left side of my mouth didn't go up like it normally does.  I thought that was a bit odd, but didn't get freaked out right away.  I referred to my What to Expect When You're Expecting book to see if it mentioned anything about a droopy face.  (On a side note, I have determined that it is best not to google medical things.  Usually, my searching just ends up with me thinking I have cancer.  So throughout my pregnancy, I have only refered to my What to Expect When You Are Expecting book or I call my doctor.) 

In my book, it talked about something called Bell's Palsy.  It said it's a "temporary condition caused by damage to the facial nerve, resulting in weakness or paralysis on one side of the face."  It also mentioned that you might have trouble blinking, which I was.  My left eye had been bothering me for a couple days. It was very teary and blurry.  I had figured it was because of my contact or I had just scratched it.  I was pretty certain I had Bell's Palsy, but I figured I should probably call my ob's office just to be certain.  Since it was after regular office hours, I spoke with a nurse.  After speaking with the nurse, she sounded pretty alarmed and said it sounded like stroke symptoms.  She said the ob on call would call me back shortly.  By this point, I was getting nervous.  What if this was something worse than Bell's Palsy?  What if I was having a stroke?  What if I had already had a stroke?  What would that mean for my babies?  What would that mean for me?  

The on call ob called me and said I should go to the ER to get checked out.  I considered driving myself to the ER, but then decided against it in case something serious was going on with me.  Adam was on his way home at his point, but I wasn't sure when he would be home.  Adam's mom lives close to us, so I called her to see if she could take me.  She said she could definitely, but Adam ended up making it home first.  

I still feel sorry for how Adam must have felt when he walked in the front door.  I told him that everything is probably fine, but that we needed to go to the ER.  We hopped in the car and made our way to the hospital.  As soon as we arrived, I checked in and was seen by a nurse quickly to check my vitals.  I was then whisked away in a wheelchair by another nurse to get a CT scan.  Apparently if you are a pregnant lady with stroke-like symptoms you don't have to wait around.  

I was starting to get very freaked out at this point.  Everything was moving very quickly and Adam wasn't allowed to come to the CT room with me.  After the technician wrapped up my belly in some lead blankets, they took some pictures of my brain.  The technician told me to stay still.  I was shaking from nerves at this point and was worried that I wasn't staying still enough.  But they were able to get the images taken.  

From there the nurse wheeled me to a private room in a wheel chair.  She told me they treat anyone with stroke-like symptoms from the top down.  Meaning they start with a CT and then move onto other labs. She said the CT technician didn't see any blood in my brain, which would have signaled a stroke, but that a doctor would double check the images.  I was very thankful she said this to me.  It did help me calm down. 

Since my initial blood pressure was a little on the high side, they wanted to monitor me for a bit to make sure I didn't have preeclampsia, as well.   

Once I made it to the private room, I was reunited with Adam.  A different nurse had me take off my shirt and put on a gown.  She added some leads to monitor my heart, put a thingy on my finger to monitor my pulse, put on a blood pressure cuff and started an iv to take some blood.  She was a pro and did all of this very quickly.  At some point I went to the restroom to provide a urine sample, but I don't remember when exactly this happened.  

Here's a really pretty picture of me at this point in the evening.  I'm thinking of having it blown up and put above my fireplace.  (Ha!  Just kidding!)   

Eventually the doctor came to see me.  He came in and said, "So I hear your face is broken."  He helped bring a little levity to the situation, which I appreciated.  He had me smile, close my eyes and raise my eyebrows.  He also touched both sides of my face, arms and legs.  After looking me over and the labs, he determined that I did indeed have Bell's Palsy.  He said it was a pretty mild case of it and that 95% of people with these symptoms return to normal.  He did say it could take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks before things return to normal.  He recommended I take some steroids to help my face return to normal after checking with my ob's office to make sure the medication would be safe for the babies.  

My blood pressure eventually went down and no protein was detected in my urine, so preeclampsia was ruled out.  All in all, everything turned out just fine.  The babies are still in my belly and healthy.  I am doing fine, though my face isn't as cute as it could be.  I've included some pictures of my droopy face below for your entertainment.  

Whew!  Let's hope the next few weeks aren't nearly as eventful!