Hello everyone...Many of you have expressed kind concern about the right skull fracture I endured on June 1, 2007. You all are the people with whom I communicate, so I will explain it here.
My skull fracture...I don't know what happened exactly. I'm not sure if I simply slipped and hit my head on the kitchen floor where I bled out of my right ear--leaving a huge pool of blood there. Another idea was the possibility that I had a spontaneous bleed, which caused me to fall and crack my skull. Finally, I occasionally have NON-epileptic grand mal seizures (related to my Systemic Lupus and Lupus Anticoagulant) that I treat daily with Tegretol (this also addresses my Pain Management problems
I doubt this was caused by a seizure because I didn't have the usual "post-seizure" feelings. For instance, I didn't bite my tongue. My muscles weren't sore from the contractions I usually have. None of those "regular" things were present. Furthermore, I have not endured a seizure in quite a while, so I don't think this was it.
It comes down to deciding which happened first...Did I fall, have a resulting bleed that damaged the cranial nerves, etc.? Or, did I have a blood vessel that began bleeding, which caused me to fall, hit my head, and crack my skull? Again, the cranial nerves were damaged--which is why I still cannot smell or taste. Fortunately, my vision has healed (my eyes were working seperately nearly 2 months). Also, my hearing seemed affected, but the tests came back OK. Because I used to teach music (Bachelor's in Music Education [vocal and instrumental], Master's in Choral Conducting), the hearing thing really made (makes) me nervous.
Until mid-September, I could not read Music. I could not assimilate something as simple as a hymn to play on the piano! BUT, I have regained my abilities--please note that I have never claimed they were great!
As stated earlier, my eyes were working seperately for a while. But, they have begun working together, and I can wear my soft contact lenses again--FOR WHICH I AM THANKFUL!!
When it comes to Pain, the levels of Pain have been more intense. I've had to use more medication, but I'm getting back down to "pre skull fracture" pain levels. Again...I am SO GLAD that the pain I endured was temporary.
I still cannot use my olfactory senses to detect an actual flavor. For instance, I can tell that certain soups are salty--but I cannot put it all together to form a flavor! My tongue detects salt, sweet, sour, etc.--like it is supposed to do.
The worst thing, though, is the terrible dizziness, vertigo, nausea, etc. I'm told by my doctors that this will heal, but the timeline is very lengthy. I should expect a year's time or more for my body to put things back together!!
None of you know me, but I have a love affair with food. However, when you cannot taste, eating just isn't worth it. I have lost over 40 pounds. My Internal Medicine doctor said, "Jon, this isn't the best approach to dieting." She is good to me, but I lost that weight very fast. I went from a very tight 40 to a loose-fitting 36. DON'T GET ME WRONG--I'M GLAD ABOUT THE WEIGHT LOSS. However, the whole eating and drinking process is gross to me!! I live on--if you can imagine--Cheese Lover's Grits with Sharp Cheddar Cheese melted at the bottom of the bowl. While I drink water, I "live on" Apple Juice, Orange Juice, and popcycles. Don't get me wrong...I will eat some soup or even some cereal once in a while--BUT...the grits (with a dab of ketchup) are what I mainly eat. CAN YOU IMAGINE? THE REASON I ADD THE KETCHUP IS THAT I CAN DETECT IT AGAINST THE GRITS DUE TO THE VINEGAR-FLAVOR OF IT!!
Once again...I need to tell you that I use every bit of my Pain Medication. It used to be that I could alter my prescription "schedule" by a few days, but the pain has been so intense and regular that I use it exactly as written with the maximum amount. My doctor OK'd this and has even suggested "upping" my levels--but I'm just so hesitant about this since I'm on strong meds as it is--fentanyl patches 75 mcg (Sandoz), fentanyl citrate lozenges 800 mcg (Barr), hydromorphone 8 mg (generic Dilaudid by Roxane), Fioricet, and Fioricet w/Codeine!!!
Furthermore, I've had more headaches than usual--for obvious reasons. Skull fractures can treat a person badly this way. So, I've been using more of my Fioricet-based stuff (both plain Fioricet and Fioricet w/Codeine). Again, however, the need for this has started to wane. I don't know how many times I can tell you how THANKFUL I am for my pain levels being lower, but I still really, really mean it
This is much longer than I meant it to be, but I hope I've explained what you've asked. Gosh, I'm on the verge of tears because of the kindness you've shown me!!
Oh...the skull fracture placed me in the hospital between 12 and 13 days! Fortunately, I don't recall most of it. My family told me that I ripped out my IV's and even my urinal catheter. My hand and arms look terrible from this. Plus, I used some of the worst language EVER!! I can't imagine using the "F" word in front of my parents (Dad, a retired Minister & Mom, a retired teacher)--or the rest of the family, either! I'm sure this is why my Internal Medicine doctor told me that it's probably for the best that I don't remember the experience.
Again, you've all been so kind to me. Thank you all!
P.S. When I have more energy, I'll check the grammar and spelling a little more closely...