Since the aneurysm, much of my life seems to be divided into before and after. I look at photos and think, “I went to that place before my aneurysm.” I see myself in a picture online, and am pleased that I exist… after my aneurysm. I can’t possibly recount each day after my aneurysm, but I can recall some of that first day.
The first day after the aneurysm, I went to surgery at about 6 AM. This was about 17 hours after the artery ruptured (exploded) in my head. I don’t remember a single thing about the surgery. I don’t remember meeting the surgeon before the surgery, or much about the time I spent in the ED prior to moving to a room. My last memory before surgery is of a tech helping me get clean. Since I’d just spent about 12 hours vomiting all over myself (including in my hair), that bath will forever go down as one of the best moments of my life.
I remember waking up after the surgery, in the room where I’d stay for about a day before I was transferred to the room in the Neuro ICU where I’d stay for almost two weeks. I suppose I went to the PACU after surgery, but I don’t remember that all. I remember the room was dark, but the light behind the blinds seemed like the sun was shining directly in the room. I remember a few folks came to visit me, but I’m not sure if I dreamed some of them. I remember pain, lots of pain, and a nice nurse who kept trying to find a way to relieve my nausea so I could drink cool water without vomiting.
I remember my husband coming in the room, and I remember telling him I was sorry that I’d yelled I was dying before I was put in the ambulance. I remember my mom and aunt holding my hand, and me feeling comforted, but also that the movement of them touching my hand made my head hurt more because everything, and I mean everything hurt. My husband said that for about a week after the aneurysm and the surgery, any movement or noise or light sent me into shockwaves of pain, and that I clung onto the bed, like I was riding a pain wave, that it was awful to see.
Other than that, everything from that first day is pain, just pain layered over nursing care and family care and worry about my job and my house. I could think sometimes, and I’d remember that I was supposed to be DOING things, HELPING, not being helped, but then the pain would come back and all I would think about was that.