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PNASAH December 2009

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Hi everyone,

I have just read a good deal of the posted forums and decided to join and add my 2 cents worth to the mix.

My history is that after a one month nursing placement where I suffered through immense pain from my chronic back pain after a car accident in Dec 2003 (not a good month for me), and taking Ibuprofen (more than the recommended dose, and later found that some of what I had taken was out of date by 6 mths or more) I had a lovely week off and then returned to work. The evening after my first day back at work when I went to bed I suffered what I call an atomic boom going off in my head following a sharp knife like pain in my neck. I have no history of headaches apart from the odd one maybe once or twice a year that was easily relieved by 1 gm panadol. I did have constipation that night before going to be and they ? excessive straining as a possible cause??????

I knew immediately it was serious but as I was in sooo much pain and unable to call out for help I had to just try and sit or lie down and try and cope. I knew I should call 000 but who would be there for the Step-Daughter when I went to hospital etc was going through my mind. Normally my mobile would be next to my bed but I had left it in my handbag, the second home phone is normally beside my Husbands side of the bed but it wasn’t there (my Step-Daughter had it in her room with her without my knowledge) and my Husband was at work. Within approx. 30 minutes I started vomiting uncontrollably and this went on for 4 hours till I finally managed to get off the bed and go for a shower. My Step-Daughter heard me vomiting in the shower and called her Dad at work, I asked him to ring work for me as I was due to start at 0700hrs. He rang back and said they told him a headache and vomiting virus was going around so I assumed that is what I may have had and I didn’t need to go to the hospital!!!!

It took me another 2 days to finally see my GP and by then I was soo weak from vomiting, the ongoing headache and photophobia that I gave in and agreed it was not a virus. (Typical Nurse, self-doubt and don’t want to look like a fool when all you have is a virus so wouldn’t go to the Emergency Department when my Husband wanted me to). The GP sent me to ED and a CT scan confirmed a SAH. After 17 days in hospital and a angiogram of my brain I was allowed out. The bleed occurred on the Circle of Willis at the back of my brain which caused photosensitivity +++. I lived in a “bat cave” for the first 15 days of my hospital stay and wasn’t allowed to read or watch TV or any high stimuli’s.

I had no answers from my Neurosurgeon except to say “what do you not understand about how lucky you are” when I sought answers. I have since found out by my own research as many of you have found, they do not have the answers to give us. He basically said it is an individual journey that has to take its course and I can return to work only when I am well enough but that my GP would manage that. I was off for 10 mths and it took a lot of convincing to allow it, the GP insisted I go on a really slow return to work program but within a month I was ok for full time work. I finished my nursing degree and have just completed a masters degree in mental health nursing. However it has not been easy, without a very supportive Husband it would not have been possible. In 2012 I had my 4 year old Grandson once a week in the daytime but otherwise we have no children at home now so could work and study. I also have a housekeeper once a week.

Ongoing symptomology is fatigue when I do too much. I am limited by my chronic back and neck pain from the car accident but the fatigue is different to what I used to experience before the PNASAH. I also get a sore/tender head when I push limits and that is a sign to slow down and I too fear another bleed despite all the evidence to say it shouldn’t occur. I suffered high blood pressure for a period after the bleed and had to go on medications but it settled and was able to come off them. I now have to be careful as my blood pressure is prone to rise with fatigue and stress so I have to balance my lifestyle to suit. I now am very much a stay at home person when not working as often the very thought of getting ready to go out to dinner etc is too much to cope with and its easier to stay home and let hubby cook. Thankfully my headaches dissipated within the first 8-10 mths or so (didn’t let on to the GP or hubby that they did continue after returning to work, but they were mild). Brain fog, tired and aching leg muscles are also an issue I deal with, however I now take 1 gm Magnesium daily which has helped a bit with the tight muscles, I also take Chlorella and find it very helpful with the fatigue (it got me through UNI twice). My new GP recommends up to 5 Vit D tabs a day will help with the brain fog, presently only take 1 a day and it’s not working so will think about more, however feel like a pill popper as it is with all I take now. Another problem I had post PNASAH was TV, it moved to fast for me to watch it, it seemed to affect my brain and caused increased headaches so I often just listened to programs and didn’t watch them. I still prefer to work on the computer with my back to the TV and just listen to it rather than watch it. As for games on the computer, I have to have frequent breaks to rest my brain and eyes, whereas I used to be a avid game player before, especially on quiet night duty shifts. Sorry this post is long winded but three years is a lot to catch up on.

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Have you tried Potassium? I drink potassium enriched drinks like coconut water and such. It really help like Mg does. Mg tends to do weird things for my stomach sometimes. I find any electrolytes are really restorative. Ca, Mg, Na, etc..

I don't like to advocate Na to others as some people here have high blood pressure. But for me, I have low-normal.

The leg horrid feeling took a long time to go away. I can say that most of the time it is completely gone now. I found that it came with over taxing myself...not just my legs. If I played the cello for 2 hours, my legs would be a painful strange jello.

take care and keep posting.


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