- Let’s just highlight some of the details from how it happened. So, now we know that I have been diagnosed with a ruptured brain aneurysm a.k.a cerebral hemorrhaging and 1 still intact. The doctor has made it clear that I am in the best hospital in the country and he has no equipment of performing the urgent procedure to stop the bleeding. He also notes that I only have about 3days to do something about it. Also, it seems like most of my memory has been affected and I’m only able to remember my husband (thank goodness) and a set of 7 questions that I’m asking in the same order. The other thing that I did not mention in the last post is that, at that time when I arrived at the hospital, my BP was in the 60’s/40’s. If you are familiar with the way BP functions, that is a very low number. My oxygen level was in the 70’s and my respirations ranged between 4-6 per minute. My initial vital signs were abnormal but promising. As soon as I arrived in the ICU and after obtaining those vital signs, they began treatment to stabilize me, thus, my regain of consciousness and ability to ask those 7 questions.
Approximately 15% of patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) die before reaching the hospital. Most of the deaths from subarachnoid hemorrhage are due to rapid and massive brain injury from the initial bleeding which is not correctable by medical and surgical interventions. https://www.bafound.org/about-brain-aneurysms/brain-aneurysm-basics/brain-aneurysm-statistics-and-facts/
What really saved me???
- I must say that taking that aspirin when I first asked my husband to give it to me initially before things got worse prevented my blood from coagulating and forming a blood clot that might have caused severe brain damage or even resulted in death https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-1082-3/aspirin-oral/aspirin-oral/details
- The other thing and perhaps very crucial is the knowledge of CPR on my husband’s side. He was the caregiver and his actions kept me alive. First, he established a safe environment to allow him to concentrate on me by keeping the baby in her crib even though she was crying. Second, when he realized that I was vomiting uncontrollably, his goal was to keep the airway open and place me in an upright position or side laying position to prevent possible aspiration. At this stage, most people die from food and fluid aspiration. If you can’t use your hands to keep the victims mouth open, use anything closest to you that is steady such as a nicely folded big piece of clothing, a book…etc. Third, he called for help by screaming and hoping that the guards could hear him and by grabbing the walkie talkie to communicate with post one. Calling for help is very important because you really can’t tell how things are going to turn out. As a caregiver, you need reassurance and a confirmation that help is on the way. You are exhausted. This is why it is a must you know the emergency phone number of your country’s emergency response system. Teach your children too. Kids will amaze you on how much they are capable of doing. When you shout for help and a lot of bystanders arrive, instruct them on what to do rather than have them crowd the area and limit the oxygen supply and just be observers…..they can be a big distraction. For my case it was different because we were in Uganda under Diplomatic status so we had to follow a different chain of emergency response system. Whatever your circumstance is…prepare for an emergency and know what to do when you are faced with one.
- Upon arrival at the hospital, they demanded an admission fee before they could attend to me. As sadly as it sounds, unfortunately, it is the common system in most developing countries. Most people make it to the hospital on time but they die in the waiting room due to lack of funds. I was fortunate that when one of our embassy nurses arrived, she took charge because it was a diplomatic medical emergency and they had to act fast unless they were ready to carry the blame incase things turned out for the worst. My goal is to advocate for the common person in the developing countries who is treated different upon arrival to medical facilities due to lack of funds or insufficient funds that could allow them access to proper medical care.
- Now that we know the diagnosis, we probably should dig deeper to learn more about it before we move onto the next step of treatment. In the next postings, I’m going to talk about:
- Risk factors
- Basic CPR