Sorry about my unexpected disappearance folks. I never got a chance to draw the winner from my Blogoversary giveaway, but I promise that that will be done in the next day or two. So where have I been? It's kind of a long story. Most of you won't know that I have Lupus. I've had it for years, I usually don't talk about it much because not many people know what Lupus is and I can't be bothered to explain it all every time, and also, I'm not really someone who likes to dwell on things like that. It can get kind of depressing and people don't want to listen to you going on about your aches and pains all the time. So anyway, I felt a little under the weather last week, and then on Sunday, my left arm went numb. One of the things I have with my Lupus is an anti-cardiolipid antibody and Hughes Syndrome, both of which means that I have thick sticky blood with tendencies to clot. What would you have done? Well, some years ago, I damaged my left shoulder, and I do sometimes get pins and needles, and pain in that arm, so I decided to give it until the morning, and if it was no better, I would get it checked out. It wasn't any better, so I went to the doctors and wham! She made me go straight to hospital where I was admitted and then kept in all week whilst they gave me tests and scans, and observations trying to decipher the cause. Now, I'm not stupid. I do know that with my medical history, there was a very big chance that it had been a stroke. Even at my age. So I was under 24 hour observation. I had my BP, my pulse and reactions tested every four hours, night and day, I had a cardio-vascular scan (I discovered that I have an irregular heart rhythm that they think is congenital), a CT scan, a brain scan and an MRI scan and in the end, they found blood in the brain. So there it was, a stroke. Can you imagine what that feels like? To be told that you've had a stroke? To be honest, I think I already knew. You do know your own body, an you know when something's different. Now, although I'd had a stroke and my left arm was numb, and also part of my neck and left breast, I didn't feel too bad. So can you understand what it was like for me in hospital? I was going loopy with boredom. I'm normally a very busy and active person, and they wouldn't even let me walk anywhere, I guess in case it was a blood clot and, well, you know what could have happened. So I read a book a day, M and my family visited every day, I listened to my iPod and I played my DS Lite. But I was so bored!!!! I was very lucky though, after the first night on the Emergency Assessment Unit (which was really busy and noisy) I was moved to a new ward which wasn't supposed to be opened just yet (the hospital was getting to full capacity) and ended up with my own room! That pretty much never happens in an NHS hospital!
I had a canula in all week which was really uncomfortable!
This was pretty good, a digital screen on a long arm, you paid into it and you could select tv (pretty rubbish), internet (with a rubbish touch screen keypad which didn't want to work for me because they operate with body heat, and because of my conditions, I'm always very cold), and audiobooks. But it was entertainment and I did while away a few hours in the long nights watching the music channels. I was fascinated by the signers they had in the early hours. Are all deaf people insomniacs? They never signed the music during the day! It was quite fascinating watching them sign to dance music though, which is quite often very fast and nonsensical.
Look, I even had my own private bathroom with a shower!!!
By Thursday I was telling the doctor that I was getting feeling back in my arm although this was a bit of a fib - hell, I'd have told him the sky was purple if it'd got me out of there quicker! I was also quite premenstrual by Thursday, as the first thing they did was to take me off the contraceptive pill! So, the end result? They've put me on Warfarin to thin my blood and hopefully this will prevent me from having a major stroke. I'll be on this forever, and at the moment I'm going into the anti-coagulant clinic everyday (yes Saturday and Sunday too) for blood tests, so that they can tell me my dose for the day. I'm on a very high dose at the moment to try and make my blood less sticky and therefore less prone to clotting. When the blood test shows that my blood is runny enough, they'll be able to start bring my dose down. So there you go. I'm going to start rattling if they put me on any more drugs. I'm on about 5 a day at the moment. I think the very worse thing is that I can't drink anymore than about 2 units at a time. So no more wild nights out (or in!), no more sunny days hanging out in the garden with a bottle of wine, no more Christmas day tipples. I'm not an alcoholic, more of a social drinker, but I do like to get a bit tipsy occasionally. *Sigh* I only have one vice and I feel like it's been taken away from me. I eat healthily, I keep reasonably fit and I like to have a bottle of wine on a Friday night, or a drink or three with my mates, and I don't think that's too much to ask. But on the other hand, I survived a stroke with nothing more than a numb arm and the doctors seem to think that will eventually get better. It could have been so much worse. I could have been permanently partially paralysed. I could have lost big chunks of memory (well, to be honest, the Lupus has done alot of that for me anyway *lol*), I could have had my speech or vocabulary affected and I didn't. I'm here, I'm still the person I was, although with a little less stamina at the moment, my left arm is a little weaker than it was, and doesn't always do what I want it to do, which is frustrating, but it's a small price to pay.