Spring Break 2017: The Cerebellar Hemorrhage Edition
Dateline: April 15, 2017; 3 a.m.
Awakened by what I believed to be a sinus headache, I wanted to go to the bathroom for some sinus meds and an Aleve®. Sitting on the edge of the bed, feet on the floor, I proceeded to stand up.
Then…BOOM! I collapsed like a puppet whose strings had been cut.
On the floor, I thought, ‘This isn’t right.’ But I come from a long line of stubborn Selasky men, who are also notorious self-diagnosers. “This isn’t right” is a lot easier to swallow than “Something’s wrong.” So, I made my way back to the bed. It was like trying to walk in a bounce house, on a boat, in a storm, stuck in a whirlpool. I fell back into bed repeating my new mantra: “This isn’t right.”
I was able to get a little shuteye, and when I awoke, I was instantly nauseated. I began to dry heave. After that was over, I reached out to John, a friend of mine, for a little help. When he arrived, I told him what I was feeling, and he said, “It sounds like you have vertigo.” I concurred with his diagnosis. (For the record, neither of us has the letters “M.D.” anywhere near our names.)
Once the spinning and the nausea stopped, I was able to get a little more shuteye, and John left, letting me know he was just a phone call/text away. By then, it was late Saturday night, and I was thinking, ‘I got this.’
On Sunday morning, I seemed a bit better. I was even able to sit up for a minute here and there. Then it dawned on me, Flash, my 7-year-old puggle, had to go out and probably needed food and water. So, I made the stupid decision to head down a flight of stairs to where Flash was waiting. It took forever, but I took my time and got it done, all the while thinking, ‘Something’s not right.’
I made my way back upstairs, flopped back in bed, and texted John: “This isn’t right, and it’s not getting better, so we’d better go in.” He came back to my place, looked me in the eye, and said, “You need to know there’s no way I can get you down those stairs.” I told him about my escapade on the stairs earlier that day, and I made it downstairs, outside, and eventually into his car.
We arrived at the ER and quickly told the triage nurse our diagnosis: vertigo. “Has his left eye always looked like that?” she asked. We replied with a collective, “I dunno.” Then we saw the ER doctor and again shared our diagnosis. He began running tests and eventually arrived at what I like to call the drunk test: “Touch your finger to your nose; then reach out and touch my finger.” Piece of cake. First, the right hand — I passed with flying colors. Next up, the left hand. I almost took my eye out and didn’t even come close to his hand, let alone his finger.
Now, mind you, I’ve heard some scary, jaw-dropping things in my life. Things like, “Sorry, sir, that’s not covered under warranty”; “Get your stuff and get out”; and “Will the defendant please rise.” But nothing prepared me for the truth bomb this doctor was about to drop. He looked back at John and said the scariest words I’ve ever heard: “This man has had a stroke.”