Monday, August 6, 2007

My diagnosis

of Can't See Jack Shit Up Close was fine-tuned today. I have nerve damage, probably caused by the aneurysm itself, or maybe the surgery, and also something funky going on with the retina of my left eye, which is not likely to be related to the aneurysm. I get to see TWO, count 'em, TWO new doctors - a neuro-opthalmologist and a, um, retina guy. The dr. was very low-key about it, he said it's not a big deal and he's still able to correct my vision to 20-20, he just wants me to see the specialists, though there really isn't a hell of a lot they'll do for me besides get a baseline of my condition in case it deteriorates later.

Four hundred and some dollars later (and that's just for today's doctor visit, and my payment AFTER the insurance) I am reminded that I really did have something major happen to me and it's not my imagination that some things are different now. I suspected the changes in my vision weren't due to just "getting old." And - HAH! they weren't.

Physically, I feel great, and people tell me I look great - and therein lies the frustration of life post-SAH. Because I'm not on a walker or unable to speak or otherwise obviously "brain damaged," people don't really get it - and that is frustrating to live with every day. My personality, intelligence, long term memory, etc., are all fine, no changes, but I have short term memory problems that come and go. Difficulty concentrating is chronic - it took me over two weeks to read the latest Harry Potter, and concentrating on the documents I have to read at work is damn near impossible for me now. I am much happier when I'm talking about something or when I'm DOING something - and I'm trying to think of a career change into something hands-on that pays more than Starbucks barista. And it's very frustrating when I say I don't remember something and people say, "Oh God, I'm just like that too!" No, you're really not - because when someone reminds you of the thing you forgot, you do remember you once knew it. Yesterday my daughter happened to ask me about the location of a road in the area - and I felt like I should know where it is, it sounded vaguely familiar - but I had no idea why. So she pulled it up on Yahoo Maps, and I leaned over her shoulder and saw where it was, and finally realized why I knew it. My company's other office is on that road. I've been there many times, and see the street name printed on documents all the damn time. Every DAY. But I honestly didn't have any clue why that street sounded "sorta familiar." That's a kind of memory issue I never had before, and it freaks me out.

Oh, and my blood pressure was elevated again - it was much lower before I went back to work. Imagine that. He advised that I get a blood pressure cuff and start tracking it. And I realized that I need to make some permanent changes in my lifestyle, like really eating right instead of just talking about it, and going to the gym 5x a week instead of thinking about it, and cutting down/out on caffeine and such. All good things I know I should be doing, but after I went back to work I started falling back into my old habits and got lazy again. Today was a wake-up call, I CANNOT get lazy again. And of course, the supreme irony isn't lost on me - the job that is so stressful and isn't healthy for me is the one that provides the good health insurance I now can't be without. I ought to run for Congress - those bastards have universal health care.

So, today I went to the gym. I watched my diet. This isn't a temporary change, this has to be forever.


sallyjo said...

Is the retina guy a specialized ophthalmologist? I need one.
I'm hoping your brain is still young enough to adapt to some of these changes - obviously the short-term memory is a biggie, but concentration might improve.

Bess said...

Gotcha on my list, oh twineytwin. Seeing you at some creative job that has just what you need in the way of interesting work - and good pay - and real benefits. Yep. That's the picture I'll hold in my mind for you.

Glad you got the good glasses, too.

Cursing Mama said...

ahhh universal healthcare........imagine....

*snaps out of it*

hoping you find the right job soon.

Amy in StL said...

I bought my dad a great blood pressure device. They call it the travel one touch blood pressure monitor.

I guess I'm lucky that stress just doesn't affect me like that. My dad nearly died from a series of stress induced heart attacks. But stress doesn't seem to affect my sleeping, eating or blood pressure. I worry sometimes that I'm keeping it bottled up somehow and something will happen to me like it did to you. Scares me a little, ya know?