Ending 2015 on a Bad Note

I didn’t expect to have so many health issues so close to the end of the year, but that seems to be exactly what happened. It was mostly pretty standard: I had the Flu and am still recovering and my Tooth started hurting again. Last night, though, it didn’t go so well and I wound up in the Emergency Room for the first time in years. 

I have lived my life with a condition called Orthostatic Hypotension; I have chronically Low Blood Pressure for unknown reasons, but it plummets even further whenever I change position- most likely due to an inability of my Heart to communicate properly with my Brain but there’s been no real, official diagnosis of the cause itself… Only that I have OH and that has been where it was left.

As a result it isn’t abnormal for me to become lightheaded and dizzy any time I stand up, stretch for too long, cough too hard, get too hot (which also triggers Cholinergic Urticaria for me), or generally move. On average it happens about 10-20 times a day depending on how often I move- and about half of those instances are also characterized by a short blackout episode lasting for 2 to 5 seconds.

Despite it happening so frequently, I can usually remain standing without too much effort and it’s generally not all that bad for me; I’ve learned to get up in ways that ensure I have a brace and I can usually remain semi-conscious despite the blackout. I have managed to adapt to living with it- though I actually didn’t know that it was abnormal until my Husband said something about it a couple years ago.

Yesterday, however, I had an Emergency Appointment with my Dentist in order to extract a tooth that recently began giving me problems. It had been cracked pretty severely by the Wisdom Tooth coming in next to it, and the pressure was causing intense nerve pain. So I had it removed- which, in itself, was an easy process that didn’t take all that long and I had no problems with the removal.

What I did end up have problems with, however, was the pain medication that my Dentist prescribed me for later: Norco, a Narcotic Pain Reliever which ultimately led to me collapsing on my Bathroom floor last night.

I have absolutely no memory of what happened after I removed the gauze from my mouth. I know that my Husband managed to catch me the first time, though. He described me as having my eyes open and mouth open, said I was even speaking to him a bit in a slow, slurred manner, but I was only Semi-responsive and more “blank” than anything. It freaked him out enough that he left me on the bathroom floor just long enough to try and get dressed. Apparently, however, my blacked out mind had to have thought that it was a good idea to move; I stood up at some point on my own, then promptly passed out a second time- smacking my head pretty hard on the Dryer without my Husband there to catch me.

Luke rushed back into the bathroom, got me up, and walked me back to the bedroom to get shoes and clothes on. I spent the whole process in and out of consciousness fainting more than a few times; on my own admittedly questionable count, I probably fainted no less than 6 times in under 10 minutes. He was freaked out enough that he demanded to take me to the Emergency Room to make sure it wasn’t blood loss or another complication from the dentist’s appointment… Thankfully it wasn’t as bad as that, though.

At the ER, my BP clocked in around 80 over {?} (I couldn’t read the bottom one), which was low even for me (my top number is usually at least 92 to 96). So basically, I had OH on crack and my body couldn’t seem to regulate my blood pressure at all, but especially not while I was standing. According to the ER doctor, though, what happened was pretty normal- or at least as normal as fainting really can be for a person. As it turns out, Norco’s side effects tend to include dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, headache, and a few other symptoms… And those are the general symptoms that I was told most people experience with it. Unfortunately they are apparently known to especially mess with people who have Orthostatic Hypotension like I do.

I was discharged with a diagnosis of Orthostatic Hypotension and Vasovagal Syncope, and a prescription for a different pain medication that I know I can safely take. After the Norco had finally left my system today I also found out that I more than likely have a minor concussion on top of it. At the ER last night, though, I was unable to correctly rate my pain or distinguish between the fainting symptoms and the concussion symptoms so it went overlooked and undiagnosed.

My Husband stayed home from work today in order to ensure that I didn’t continue to have problems. Mostly I have been tired and dizzy but ultimately I am fine now. Still, it wasn’t the way I wanted to end the year, to say the least.

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