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Painful skull fracture

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Old 10-24-2007, 11:20 PM   #1
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conductor HB User
Smile Painful skull fracture

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!

Jon (Conductor)

P.S. When I have more energy, I'll check the grammar and spelling a little more closely...

Last edited by conductor; 10-24-2007 at 11:22 PM. Reason: To correct title. Jon

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Old 10-25-2007, 05:47 AM   #2
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Re: Painful skull fracture

Once again Jon, Welcome Back!! You've certainly been down a complicated and scarey road. The problems that you are having integrating your sense of smell and taste would be the most bothersome to me. I can see how you could easily be in a position to lose weight - something I'm trying very hard to do at the present time. Anyway, I hope you never experience another "meltdown" incident in your kitchen or anywhere. At least you haven't lost your love of grammar and spelling, right?? All the best - Memere (K'Mac)

Old 10-25-2007, 11:08 PM   #3
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Re: Painful skull fracture

I'm so sorry to hear all of this. Glad you are on the mend but still sorry about your lingering symptoms. Headaches and nausea I can understand. I just had another migraine last night. For me nausea is the worst, and I mean WORST, thing ever. I hate it with a passion! I hope your sense of taste and smell return soon. How frustrating. I want to second K'mac's wish that you never experience another episode like this. I also wish and pray for your continued improvement.
Your stories and insight have helped in my travels down the cp highway.

On a lighter note, have you read "Eats, Shoots and Leaves"?
It seems like a book right up your alley. (now I'm worried about my punctuation and grammar....please don't take your red pen to the computer screen!LOL)

Take care, Mush
undiagnosed lung and back pain after pneumonia in '03, tmj, migraines,(two failed surgeries for) Kienbock's disease

Last edited by trowftd3; 10-25-2007 at 11:08 PM. Reason: hope for my punctuation

Old 10-26-2007, 04:31 AM   #4
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Re: Painful skull fracture


I'm at a total loss for words here. What an ordeal!! I have to go back and re-read your post to make sure I got it all....

I too am glad you are getting back in the swing of things. Please take care of you and let is know how things are coming. There are a lot of people here who really enjoy your sense of humor- glad to see ya posting again.

Old 10-26-2007, 07:05 AM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2005
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conductor HB User
Re: Painful skull fracture

Dear Memere (K'Mac), Mush, and Ozzy,

I've said it over and over again, but I mean it. You all specifically, and this board in general, are utterly kind to me! We all--as CP'ers--don't always receive kindness and compassion. We are often used to getting a skeptical attitude from the people who treat us--doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc.

This forum brings a great deal of laughter into my life. I wish I was 1/4 as good at grammar and other aspects of writing as you kid about with me!! Now, I really have to review what I post. Frankly, Mom is tired of reviewing these posts. She has pointed out (regularly lately) that she is still retired! I think she likes to be needed, though! Please know I am kidding--in the BIGGEST way. She would cuff me on the head if I asked her to do this much editing! I ask questions about spelling and grammar, but I do it in a vague manner so she doesn't know precisely why I'm asking.

Again, you guys don't need to search for words (like ozzybug suggested)--your comments have already been enough. I'm glad you guys understand how irritating the lack of smell and the diminished detection of taste from my tongue can be. I WANT TO SCREAM IT...I just want to taste one of my favorite foods. I don't even particularly care what it is!

When it comes to PAIN, I apparently bruised my brain in the front from the fall. The doctorS have consistently told me that there are certain cranial nerves that have to grow back. Unfortunately, they grow back at the slow rate of 1/4 cm to 1/2 cm per month (approximately--this rate changes depending on the medical source book a person reads). The obnoxious neurologist I saw in the hospital and with whom I had several follow-up appointments after I was released (who is also an attorney--more of an attorney than a physician, I think) said the particular cranial nerves that were damaged had nearly 20 cms (approximately 8 inches to those of us who don't think in metric terms) of growth to go through! (Yes, that sentence ended with a preposition! Mom's not home right now!) These nerves--according to the physicians' statements--have a great deal to do with the Pain perception, as well as the dizziness factor.

Mush, that whole dizziness/nausea/vomiting issue has been cruel! I am not used to "throwing up". I didn't even get sick--in that manner--as a youngster because I hated "hurling" so, so much. Meclizine helps somewhat, but it really doesn't help a great deal. I was also given Zofran (I think), along with Valium. The only way that these medications helped was that they knocked me out enough to NOT notice being ill!!

Well, that's it for now! I always tend to babble, and I'm sorry. You should read my posts in short sections--along with an energy drink or something. An energy drink or something intoxicating--I don't know which would help you endure the reading in a more effective way!

Thank you for the support you all continually offer. With all honesty, your kindness brings tears to my eyes.

Jon (Conductor)

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