Good news. The aneurysm is nothing to worry about.

I have no doctor appointments, nor tests, for the next month. It’s been three months and a lot of professionals later… with no official diagnosis but many clues. And I’m okay with clues. The tilt table study, as I thought, came back normal so I don’t have POTS and that is good news. My symptoms share some similarities with POTS, but I’ve never fainted so there’s that. Smug little doctor man was right, but he could have been less dismissive about it.

The lovely hatch pattern on my shoulder from my fall Monday is healing nicely and I don’t seem to have any more permanent damage from it. So that’s more good news.

I’ve been keeping up with my metrics at work, but my body has felt very awkward about it.

Today I am scheduled for a home visit from Susquehanna Service Dogs, and the teenager has been working hard not only on decluttering the house but also cleaning. I intended to help more, but I came home from the neurovascular appointment yesterday, canceled the gym, took a shower and went to bed without dinner.

I slept more than nine hours. And I noticed at the doctor’s office my temperature was 98.3, which is actually high for me as I am usually around 97-point-something. I checked my watch and sure enough my temperature has been steadily creeping upward, but so has the sunshine and heat outside.

Regardless, I wasted last night by spending it cuddled with Louise instead of accomplishing anything. I knew I should have stopped for coffee on the way home.

The neurologist I visited yesterday was located in the Doctor’s Pavilion at the hospital, recommended by my neurologist/physiatrist, to consult with me about my aneurysm. It was a tiny office on the sixth floor of the building with a list of doctors and physicians assistants that had to be thirty people long. The waiting room was also small, and like a good patient, I arrived at 1:50 p.m. as they asked me to be there by 2 p.m. for my 2:15 p.m. appointment. And by some strange coincidence, I found a very convenient parking space.

I had also completed all my paperwork, confirmation and check-in online. They had me in the waiting room by 1:52 p.m. And despite the fact that I had a very compelling brand new ebook on my phone, The 8-Ball Magic of Suzie Q by Jody J. Sperling, I was way too exhausted and a tad too lightheaded to read it.

Instead, I people watched. As the small waiting room grew more and more crowded. A woman in a wheelchair that didn’t fit in the actual seating area. Her caretaker. A thin woman with bronze skin who didn’t look up and had a cane. A woman with bold tattoos who argued in Spanish with a burly man who spoke on his red iPhone once she left for her appointment. (She appeared to be the only one close to my age.) A large African American man whose accent revealed he may have had cognitive issues either from a congenital disability or a stroke– I was in a neurologist’s office waiting for a neurovascular assessment. And several more who arrived as my name was called. It was very claustrophobic.

My medical assistant introduced herself as Franky, while her nametag revealed her full name was Francesca. She said she loved my name and said it was her brother’s name. My name harkens back to my birth story, so I always experience a pang of weird sensation when someone mentions it. It’s a mix of gratefulness to be alive and also a split second decision of what do I keep to myself and what do I share.

I usually keep to myself.

Franky warned me that my providers were running behind and that they probably would not arrived until 2:40 p.m. and if they arrived later than that, she would check on me. I spent the next half hour staring out the window, and studying the models of spines. Without touching of course.

By physician’s assistant arrived at 3 p.m. and used a lot of big words, showed me an image of my aneurysm (which is on the vessel between my left eye and my nose) and explained our plan of monitoring this tiny balloon of blood in my brain. (My phrase, not hers. I don’t know her big words.)

As long as the right side of my body doesn’t suddenly experience numbness or other hemiplegia (that’s my word– I know that one from cerebral palsy lingo) or as long as I don’t start experience the worst headaches I’ve ever experienced in my life, I’m good. With a less than 1% chance per year of something happening. But should either of those things happen, I am to visit the ER immediately.

After a thorough neurological exam, I headed home, leaving the hospital around 3:30 p.m. I don’t normally drive the highways at that time, and since the Lehigh Valley has so many medical professionals it seems the 3 p.m. time has a ridiculous amount of traffic. And I still can’t believe the number of people who cannot merge. You can tell from their driving that they are terrified.

Here’s hoping I can stay awake past 6:30 p.m. tonight.

Have you ever had brain surgery before?

Today I received a paycheck. I haven’t had one of those in two months. I have been keeping my house afloat on $900 in disability payments (and denied the last $450 I was entitled to because the absence management company keeps losing the fax), savings and credit cards.

In two hours I will be leaving to drive over to my hand specialist/orthopedic surgeon about my sprained pinky. Despite the therapy, despite the time that has elapsed, it’s still tender, doesn’t bend all the way and has a rather distorted knuckle. Monday is my first appointment with my cardiologist.

My heart rate has been normal most of this week. But yesterday was a little rough– heart rate variations and fatigue throughout the day. I had a lot of muscular pain in my right hip, which extended into my back and quad, and worked overtime at the Bizzy Hizzy. So, I ate a lot of snacks, took ibuprofen, drank a lot of water, and ate my sorrow in the form of about 2,000 calories of burger, onion rings and blizzard at Dairy Queen.

My boss asked me if anything had changed to cause my discomfort. And as usual, Angel hadn’t changed one thing but several. I had worked hard the day before and perhaps I overdid it, because I had been behind in my numbers. Then, I went to the chiropractor, and when she touched me, it felt different. She often has to do things to my legs I don’t understand, but that right hip often feels like my pelvic bone is at the wrong angle. And when she touched it, the way she does every week, it burned instead of ached.

After the chiropractor, I went to the gym. And Andrew subjected me to leg-and-core day. Because he loves me.

I had a nice dinner after that of kale, potatoes and chicken. And I was in bed by 8 p.m. (Don’t judge me! I wake at 4 a.m.) At a minute or two before 9, I had to use the bathroom. And these days, I can’t take my chances. For some reason, I can’t always hold it. I have some retrolisthesis, and there is some theorizing that it might press on a nerve occasionally that interrupts that signal.

I stumbled from my bed, entered the bathroom, and next thing I knew I was kissing my ceramic tile and my Apple Watch was having a tantrum on my wrist. The Teenager ran up the stairs.

“Mom, are you okay?”

The shower shelf had started to fall off the wall earlier in the day. I had decided to be proactive and I removed it. I set it against the bathroom wall to rehang. In my evening stupor, I did not have my glasses on. The pale silver shelf blended in with the beige tile and I stepped right on the damn thing.

“Mom?” the Teenager said. “Why is your watch freaking out?”

Apple Fall Detection has received some mixed reviews. But this time it nailed it. My watch progressively buzzed until I looked at the screen and responded to it.

“It looks like you have taken a hard fall.”

And there were two options. “I’m okay.” And a big red emergency button. I hit “I’m okay.”

That’s how I went from 50 days without a fall to one. Sigh.

In the last of the medical update, I’ve been receiving a lot of repeated phone calls that never leave messages. So, I answered one yesterday that looked like an important phone number. And it was 11:22, so close enough to work lunch that I could step off the floor if I needed to,

It was the neurosurgeon. My neurologist had told me she was going to refer me to neurovascular to have my aneurysm checked. Apparently, they call you and ask your symptoms so the doctor can decide if your head is going to explode and if he needs to see you tomorrow versus in a couple months. So, I answered her questions.

“Have you ever had brain surgery before?”

Oh, I don’t intend to have brain surgery at all, I think. “No.”

“Do you have any allergies to the dye used in MRIs or CTs?”

“No,” I said. “I just had my first CT with contrast and tolerated the dye well. But I have a tooth implant, so an MRI might be out of the question.”

(Which is a shame as I would love to see my brain via an fMRI.)

Questions about my symptoms. Headaches? Yes. Vision trouble? Not really. Weak arms? No. But I have a tingling pinky no one can explain. Lightheadedness or dizziness? Yes, but we attributed that to low blood pressure and side effects of the beta blocker. Slurring words? Not slurring, but completely losing. But I have a history of anemia. Incontinence? Lately, yes.

“Do you have difficulty walking?”

I chuckled. “That’s loaded question. I have cerebral palsy.”

“Oh, let me write that down for the doctor.”

“Spastic diplegia if you want to be specific,” I told her.

“When did your symptoms start?”


I told her they found the aneurysm after a CT scan meant to check if blood wasn’t getting to my brain properly after my second fall in March landed me in the hospital. And here we are.

I need this weekend. Badly. And I’ll be taking Nan, my blind friend the space nerd, to Lehigh Valley Space Fest on Sunday.