The Fear of Not Knowing – Updated


I was finally able to see a Neurologist last week, who informed me that not only do I have a benign essential tremor (it’s postural in my upper extremities. My hands have shaken for as long as I can remember but I’ve never known why, so I’m relieved to now know), but I also suffered from serotonin syndrome due to two of my medications and the trauma my body went through after surgery. This led to the seizure that led to my accident. So, now I know.

I am scheduled to see a seizure specialist in a couple of weeks and I am waiting to schedule an MRI of my brain, as well as an EEG.

The problem I have now is that I will have to talk to my doctors about changing my medications which up until now worked well. I’ve already had my extended release pain medication cut in half so I don’t know how this will work. I anticipate misery but I’m still hopeful that I can find a good medium. We’ll just have to wait and see; I have four appointments this week and one next week.

If you follow my posts you know that I spent New Years in the hospital after having emergency surgery for a perforated ulcer. The following weeks were fairly uneventful, other than my surgeon being so awful that I had to Google after-care instructions.

She, too, seemed to be upset about the medications I take and let it be known. Especially when she ripped my bandage off of my stomach and yanked the drain out without warning. When I asked her about returning to work she said, “No lifting more than 15 pounds.” I asked if there was a timeline of staying out? “No lifting more than 15 pounds.” Great. Thanks.

For the following two weeks after the procedure I was pretty much on bed rest on my own accord. Having had my stomach cut open made me a tad nervous when it came to movement. After those two weeks I was doing great. The pain had subsided and I felt more confident moving around.

I was due to return to work the week of the 21st and I was actually pretty excited about it. Two weeks of being home bound isn’t nearly as fun as I thought it would be. I had already been driving and hadn’t had any problem whatsoever, so I thought I was fine. That was until Tuesday the 22nd.

The Accident

I woke up that day thinking that I had to work, so I was at the hospital at 6:45. When I arrived I was told that I wasn’t scheduled to work until the next day, so I went ahead and ran some errands, finishing up with a visit to my mom’s house.

Everything seemed fine, but I did have some dizziness. I’ve had this feeling before, however, so it didn’t really bother me. After deciding I was going to go get a haircut I said my goodbyes. At that point I felt chemically tired (that’s the best term I can think of) but, again, I thought it would pass.

I pulled out of her driveway and drove down to the stop sign.

I then woke up to discover that I had wound up in someone’s front yard and was in the process of backing away from the tree I had hit. I was completely disoriented. I grew up in that neighborhood but for the first 15 minutes or so I didn’t know where I was.

It turns out that I had blacked out, driven through someone’s fence and then hit a tree in their front yard. Fortunately I did not hurt anyone and my injuries (as far as I can tell) were minor. I bit my tongue pretty good and my calves felt like I’d ran a mile (still not completely sure why), but otherwise I was unscathed.

I looked down at my hair and realized it hadn’t been cut, so I knew I hadn’t gone far. I was trying to reverse but my car was stuck, so I threw it into park and got out. In my confusion I began digging the dirt out from my tires – like you would do if you were stuck in the sand at the beach – but I soon realized that one of the fence posts was wedged between the ground and the axle of my car.

When I stood up I lost my balance and fell to the ground. Side note: I had no recollection of this until last night when I looked at the sticky plant things that were stuck to my shirt. It explains why I’m having new neck and shoulder pain.

Finally, I got back in the car and attempted to drive away. I honestly did not realize what was going on. Before I could get far, however, a neighbor came up to me asking if I knew that I had just wrecked. I didn’t. She convinced me to turn around and to pull back into the driveway, where I sat in shock trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

She called 911 and the owners of the house, and I called my knight in shining armor. Through sobs I tried to explain what had happened, but it was hard to do since I wasn’t really sure. He was there within minutes. I cannot tell you the relief I felt when he arrived.

After The Accident

Fortunately the couple who lived in the home were absolute sweethearts and were more concerned about my safety than anything else. The guy even brought out his diabetes kit to test my sugar (it was normal). We did a report and our insurance agreed to pay for their fence, which made them happy.

I did not request an ambulance because I didn’t want to rack up more medical bills (my surgery alone was billed to my insurance at $64k!) and I really didn’t think I needed treatment, anyway. I’m super stubborn lnike that.

Our insurance sent a tow truck to pick up my car and we headed home. I eventually decided to go to the ER, where we spent five hours to be given a diagnosis of vertigo.

I tried to go to work the next day, but I was still dizzy and wobbly so I had to leave early. I felt awful abandoning my coworkers like that, but I had no choice.

The man who assessed my vehicle deemed it totaled, so now I am without a car. I don’t need to be driving right now, anyway, but I cannot tell you how devastating that was to hear. I loved my car. Fortunately our insurance will pay off the loan and we’ll get a little bit that’s left over. At least we aren’t paying for a car we can’t drive!

Final Thoughts

I am now waiting to see a neurologist on Wednesday. My primary care couldn’t get me in for like two weeks, because I guess “I blacked out while driving and had an accident” isn’t that big of a deal?

I am trying very hard not to jump to conclusions here, but I’m pretty well known for doing just that. I have gone over every symptom and every possible disease that could have these symptoms. I’ve thought of every possible thing I could have done that day to initiate a black out and I’ve come up with nothing.

Since the accident I have had multiple dizzy spells, as well as heart palpitations. I cannot tell if they are legitimate or if I am creating them by worrying so much.

Between not being able to drive (I cherish my independence!) and not knowing what’s wrong, I’m going a little crazy. Fortunately I am able to work now so that is helping, but not knowing is the worst part.

I am hoping that my appointment with neurology will be fruitful. I am going to ask for a CT scan of my brain and maybe an MRI. I’m praying that this doctor will not be as judgmental and cruel as the ones I dealt with in the ER.

Mainly, I’m hoping for answers. Aside from the perforated ulcer, this is the most terrifying experience I’ve ever had. I could have killed someone and that thought keeps me up at night.

7 thoughts on “The Fear of Not Knowing – Updated

    1. Yes, 2019 is whipping my ass and we aren’t even into February!

      I think it could be correct, but I just have never heard of vertigo making someone black out. I believe it could be an inner ear problem but I’m trying not to diagnose myself lol

  1. My goodness Hillary, I knew I was far behind on reading blogs and I am so sorry for this awful experience you went through. I am so happy you didn’t get too terribly injured and hope you are feeling much better. I know how terrible Vertigo can be and it is so scary.

    1. Thank you, Alyssa! Yeah, I’m not a fan of vertigo. I’ve had dizziness on and off since I was a child, but actual vertigo is a completely different animal! I’ve also found out from a neurologist that they believe two of my medications caused serotonin syndrome, which caused a seizure. I’m due to have some tests done and I’m going to be speaking with my doctors about changing a couple of my medications soon. Hopefully I can get back on track!

      I am so grateful I wasn’t hurt and that I didn’t hurt someone! My car is totaled and I’m going crazy not being able to drive, but there are always silver linings! ❤

      1. Girl I know how terrible vertigo can be and it is scary. I have tried learning how to handle the vertigo episodes when they happen, but you know that isn’t really possible. I hope after your tests, your doctor will be able to ensure you won’t have anymore seizures.

        It is great the only thing that was injured was your car. Cars can be repaired sometimes or replaced, but you can’t ever be replaced. It is never easy finding the silver lining to difficult things like this, but they are there somewhere.
        Please be safe and careful and never hesitate emailing me if you ever need to vent to someone that is understanding and compassionate!!

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