Needles and pins

My RMT is wonderful. She has been very good and very careful with me, because apparently having someone say “facial numbness” to you makes people very nervous.

So when she thought she saw a pea-sized bulge in or around my carotid artery that may have had a pulse during one of my last massages, she backed off and suggested I seek medical attention.

The ER is a fantastic place to observe humanity and to practice empathy. I was seen relatively quickly, as I suspect potential aneurysms or strokes tend to be, but I still had time to observe my fellow humans in need of emergency medical help.

There were the two elderly brothers, one clearly with some type of dementia, who was additionally ill, and the one who was responsible for his care. There was the young woman, crying and hardly able to breathe because of an abcess in her throat, and her stoic friend/roommate who was helping her through getting intravenous antibiotics. There was also the middle aged man who walked up to the triage desk and said, “I did something stupid.” To which the triage nurse prompted, “What did you do?” And he replied, “I grabbed the wrong end of my soldering iron, while it was on.” And she said, “Yup, that was stupid. Have a seat and we’ll be with you in a minute.”

Long story short, the ER doctor (who looked like Fred Flintstone, and who was very personable) couldn’t find anything. He referred me to get a carotid Doppler ultrasound and to bring the results for immediate consult back to the ER.  After waiting a day and a half to hear from the imaging centre, all the while wondering if I was a ticking time bomb, I called and found out they had “deprioritized” me and made an appointment for two weeks later. I said I had been under the impression I was supposed to be seen within two days and she managed to slip me into a cancellation the next day.

Back to the ER we went. The technician showed me how illegible the requisition had been so I told her what it was for and she imaged both sides of my neck. Noticing how quickly my pulse was “wow-wow”ing from the machine, I tried to breathe and calm myself. The tech didn’t think I needed to stay to get the consult but I insisted after talking with my husband, who reminded me that I was a “special case” according to Dr Fred’s instructions. I ended up waiting almost all day, and my husband had to run back to work for a meeting before they took me in to tell me that everything looked fine and maybe it was a lymph node from the nasty three week cold I’d just finished.

So that had nothing to do with my facial tingling, just a fun little side trip into the hospital.

However, my facial tingling has changed in the past week or so. I started overnight muscle relaxants a couple of weeks ago, on top of the calcium-channel blockers. And now my facial tingling has gone from painless TV snow on parts of my face to closer to the pins and needles feeling you get if your foot falls asleep.

Most days it has been fairly mild, and restricted to just my left cheekbone, right cheek and cheekbone. But today it decided to be super special and it’s both cheeks, cheekbones, lips, the outer corner of my eyelids, jaw and chin. So, most of my face has a pins and needles feeling in it. As you can imagine, it’s not terribly comfortable and, in fact, makes my stomach turn a bit. I’ve also been fighting a headache this week. Coincidence?

I hate this and I wish I knew what was going on. We really need to invent tricorders.

So here you go, an appropriate-ish song for the post.

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