I’ve been going through and experiencing either some strange sickness or infection, or symptoms of something worse. It’s been going on for weeks. I don’t think I’m a hypochondriac but I am hyper aware of the status of my body. I don’t rush to the doctors, urgent care, or even Google for every twitch or unexplainable fluctuation in temperature; I simply make a mental note and worry for days until I feel fine again.
Whatever it is I’m finishing up here, though, really had me paranoid for a few days about what was going to happen next. I feel my concerns were legitimate even though I’ve yet to actually get sick. It was very strange. I was inexplicably tired and in a mild state of confusion. I had little physical energy but my mind was working perfectly fine. The idea of food was just unappealing and it still is; my stomach has been inconsistently queasy and I’m constantly thirsty. My neck is locked up but not in a way I can’t move it; it feels like it really needs a good stretch but stretching it hurts, like it wants to pinch a nerve when I try.
My headaches weren’t like I normally experience, either. I’m always on the verge of a headache but this was different. Like the headache was there but didn’t want to bother me. I know it sounds stupid but that’s how it felt, from my neck through the back of my head. And it made me so tired, like it was weighing me down. Just thinking about it makes my eyes water. Which is why I thought it was allergy related even though the pain wasn’t in the front of my head. Everyone in my house is going through allergy flare ups. Kasper’s sinuses are so irritated that it’s gross to be near him with all the sniffling and such. Skas is the same only it’s also coming out of his eyes and JJ has his annual spring cough. Seems logical I would have some allergy thing too.
I started to get these ripples of goosebumps on my right arm. It was no big deal at first because they would just appear out of nowhere without accompanying symptoms. They slowly turned into the chills which was also fine because I could still function even with the looming headache, queasy stomach and inability to remain outwardly focused on anything– I was having trouble translating a processed thought into a physical activity. By the second day of the chills, it was becoming difficult to move because the slightest motion of air locked up my left body as I tried to survive a full [right] body sweep of goosebumps. That night I slept less than the week before. It was rough because along with the discomfort of my stomach and head I had shivers waking me up, too. It was awful. I started to think I had the flu; especially after one night Kasper had to hold me because his body heat was the only thing that stopped the shivers.
The confusion eventually blanketed my mind and I couldn’t follow through on anything without a fight. I even stopped smoking pot in case it was that but my head and stomach got worse. That was the day a migraine tried pushing through so I laid motionless on the couch and watched House of Cards all day. The migraine never formed and I found it weird. I could feel it, it felt like a bubble in the spot of my normal migraines (I have chronic acute migraines) instead of the sharp stick-poking feeling. By the next day I was sleeping all day and struggling to do basic tasks. Later that night I had to change into sweatpants and a long sleeve thermal to stop the chills. My skin felt Zig Zag paper thin and it hurt to change my clothes. I cried throughout the process. They felt like sandpaper to my right body.
This got me thinking about my earlier symptoms and paranoia started to set in. When I took these symptoms: queasiness, confusion, chills, “odd” headaches, and compare them to those I felt weeks before my stroke, everything lines up, even the chills. With both pregnancies the blood tests confirmed anemia and with both pregnancies I was cold a lot but with JJ, just before the stroke, I had to wear a hoodie at all times because I was always freezing. I’ve never been tested for anemia without being pregnant.
I told Kasper all of my symptoms and my thoughts on them. He admitted it was odd that I was smoking less than normal (I’ve was too tired to worry about it) but he also acted like I was being dramatic and making things up. I felt embarrassed as it was and he made me feel worse. I had to remind him of the brain tumor I once thought I had as an analogy to explain my paranoia. For a long time I thought I had a brain tumor because of certain ways I felt that I thought weren’t normal. I never said anything because it sounds so silly and crazy. And then I had a stroke. It wasn’t a brain tumor but obviously I had suspicions for a reason.
So I reminded Kasper that even though nothing may happen I would like him to be informed in case something does. I really think whatever it is I am going through is just some random flu/cold/allergy/whatever, that will eventually fade with time but what if it’s not? He did admit that at the time of the stroke one of the worst aspects of what he went through was not having answers to simple questions from the doctors like “has she complained of feeling dizzy or exhibited signs of confusion recently?” He pays attention more now but there are things others can’t see you’re experiencing so it helps to mention them when you can.
So even when I know it sounds ridiculous or appears as though I’m overreacting even a little bit, I no longer keep my paranoid thoughts to myself. It helps to voice them for many reasons, one being that you don’t want it to fester inside of your head until you do something stupid like call an ambulance for an ice cream headache. Another reason is having someone consider your list of worries and discuss them with you, objectively. Hopefully, Kasper won’t shame me again because I don’t want to reach a point where I’m back to being afraid to talk to him about health concerns– that’s just not healthy in any way, for anyone. I like to think I’m not crazy for not wanting to find myself in the same position where I’m looking back from my hospital bed at all the signs I missed warning me this is where I was headed.