In 2000, while at work, I had 5 rolls of chain link fence fall on my head and neck. Before this event, I had severe headaches/migraines, but after the accident, I began losing consciousness and losing weight as I had no appetite and was nauseated quite a bit.
My worker's comp doctor decided to send me in for an MRI of the brain and found a 5cm x 5cm sized sub-arachnoid cyst in the posterior fossa of the brain between the occipital lobe and cerebellum. The doctor immmediately referred me to UC San Francisco med center, (about an hour and a half from my home in the Central Valley of California), where we discussed treatment options and decided that fenestration of the cyst was the way to go.
In March 2001 I went in for the surgery expecting a miracle, I guess, but my symptoms actuall worsened. I began having seizures, (which the Dr.s called "non-epileptic episodes"), the headaches/migraines grew increasingly worse and, it seemed, I ended up in the E.R. 2-3 times a week.
In Aug. 2003, it was decided that I needed a VP Shunt placed and so it was done. I became so bad at this point that I was crawling everywhere that I had to go and was vomiting profusely. I dropped alot of weight and it really scared my wife and children.
In December 2003, thanks to an E.R. doctor and a good CT scan, it was discovered that the shunt was over-shunting and that my brain was literally shriveling inside my skull. The neurosurgeon ended up tying off the shunt and I became better than I was, but still had all of the original syptoms.
In April '04, I went in to UC San Francisco to have the shunt completely removed. It was a "same-day" procedure and they sent me home.
I had lost my job by this point due to all the time I had taken off because of my illness(s), (as would be the case over the next few years).
Anyhow, when the Dr. sewed me up after the shunt removal, he apparently didn't do it right as I had CSF leaking out of the site, I went to the hospital that night, signed in at 7:30 p.m. and they were packed so when I hadn't even been triaged by 10:00 I decided to wait it out at home because I didn't want to get any infections, expecially with the CSF leaking out of my head.
The next morning, I went in at around 4:00 a.m. and was seen right away. The E.R. doc called UCSF about my condition and they told him to sew me back up. Instead, he used staples and sent me on my way. It didn't fix the problem, but I had set up a few job interviews and wanted to be there for them. I made it to one interview and sat through the entire interview blotting the back of my head with a handkerchief because I was still leaking.
That night, after I'd gone to bed, I woke up at about 3:00 a.m. and my pillow was soaked. I changed pillows and went to sleep on the couch, but woke up about an hour later vomiting profusely and each time I'd vomit, CSF would literally squirt out the side of my head and hit the wall beside me.
By the time my wife woke up that morning, I guess I looked like death warmed over and she called an ambulance. I could not walk or crawl at this point and had a high fever.
As it turned out, I had contracted Bacterial Meningitis.
I have managed to find gainful employment, even being honest about my health, but it seems that my illness gets in the way every time; Migraines, Loss of Consciousness, Non-Epileptic Seizures, etc...and now that I have been placed on State sponsored Medi-Cal, none of the Medi-Cal doctors will prescribe narcotics anymore.
The last 2 years, with insurance, the doctor saw my condition and kept me comfortable while still making sure that I was taking my medicine as prescribed, but now I lay in bed most of the time with the shades drawn, once again nauseated and losing weight and constantly in pain, although I am currently on 2000mg day of Valproic Acid and 100 mg a day of Tramadol.
As I've said, I have a wife and 4 children ranging in age from 3 years to 14 years and I don't want them to remember a Dad that couldn't be a part of things because he was always in pain.
Any and all suggestions and help are appreciated.