A few Months before the shutdown
At the end of September 2013 I started to experience tinnitus, severe headaches, eye/face inflammation and sinus pressure. All symptoms were on the right side of my head. I visited my GP who thought the symptoms were likely to be migraines and prescribed me some painkillers (Ibuflam 600mg - 3 times a day)
After 2 weeks I still had the same symptoms. My GP gave me a prescription for Amoxicillin as he suspected I had a bacterial infection. I continued to take Ibuflam.
Several days later I did not have improvement to the symptoms. My GP referred me to an ENT. The ENT doctor after investigation found that I had a blocked/inflamed sinus and prescribed me a nasal gel and cream. The ENT informed that I should start having relief from my symptoms within 2 days.
For another 7 days I continued to use the cream and gel until I had finished both tubes. I continued to have the following symptoms:
- Strong headache on the right side of my head and behind my right eye.
- Red right eye
- Eyelid swollen and hanging over my right eye.
- Sore and sensitive scalp/head only on right side
The headache and eye pain became worse. On the weekend 27th/28th October I put a patch (homemade) over my right eye. Within 30 mins I had relief from both headache and eye pain. If I removed the patch the headache and eye pain returned within one hour.
At this point I decided to stop taking Ibuflam. It didn’t appear to be helping. I had been taking 600mg 3 times a day for the past 3 weeks and had absolutely no relief.
I visited my GP on 28th October. As he assumed my symptoms were migraines prescribed me Sumatriptan (1 x per day) and referred me to a neurologist. When I took Sumatriptan in the evening I was able to have a full night sleep. However, the symptoms returned during the following day.
I arranged an appointment with a Neurologist for 5th November. In the meanwhile I ran out of Sumatriptan so my GP prescribed Naratriptan (a cheaper replacement to Sumatriptan)
The Neurologist was unable to find any neurological causes to my symptoms. However he did suggest that my red eye, swollen face and headaches might be caused by an infection. In the meantime the Neurologist prescribed me another migraine medication, Maxalta Lingua 10mg, to take when/if I had acute headaches and to write a headache diary. The neurologist also wrote a report and sent it to my GP.
As my GP and Neurologist couldn’t find any cause to my symptoms the GP referred me for a MRI scan. I provided the MRI scan report to my GP and neurologist. The GP and the Neurologist appeared to have different opinions to the result. My GP stated that there was nothing “unusual”, and the Neurologist stated that I had sinusitis. My GP then said “There is always a little bit of flam in the sinus. And you saw the ENT for it anyway. If you still have complaints, you can of course take an herbal mucolytic like Gelomyrtol, but otherwise no real need for action”
As it was leading up to Christmas and I was annoyed and stressed that my doctors had not found any cause of my health issues I decided to just enjoy a well-deserved Christmas break. I was hoping some rest and great company would help to relief the symptoms I was experiencing.
After the short Christmas break I no longer had red eye, sinus pressure, or sore/swollen face and I thought my headaches were slightly better.
January 10th 2014 I went with my parents to Tenerife for a 1 week holiday. The headache became worse during the flight to Tenerife. I took Maxalta Lingua 10mg on the Saturday and Monday. On the Monday my headache and eye pain become better.
Once I returned to work, on January 20th, I had another acute headache. I had aura in my right sight, headache, and tinnitus so decided to leave work early. I think I made it home in the middle of the afternoon. I went directly to bed. I do not remember very much for the rest of that day and night. I remember one of my colleagues giving me a phone call on 21st January at 11:00 ish. He was worried why I hadn’t come to work. I was able to understand everything he was saying but was unable to communicate back…All I said was gibberish.
My friend contacted my GP and asked him to assist. After my GP had the same response from myself he called an ambulance. My GP informed the ambulance team that it was very likely that I had a stroke and to take me directly to a stroke specialist hospital.
I remember my GP called me back to inform that an ambulance would arrive soon. I also remember that I put on a pair of jeans and t-shirt. I also opened the front door of my apartment and lay on the floor next to my wallet, health insurance card, and door keys………after that I do not have any memory of the next 2 weeks
On 21st January 2014 I was taken to Bogenhausen Hospital in Munich. I'm sorry I'd probably not mentioned that i'd been living in Germany for 20+ years until March 2021. Once I was in hospital I was apparently very confused, not able to find correct words and expressions.
I was induced into a coma on 21st January for 8 days. On 29th January I had an operation to remove a large section of my skull (craniotomy), on the left side of my head, to release blood pressure in my brain.
Within 48 hours of having the craniotomy I started to be able to recognise people and remember my own name. Now was when the really hard work had to be started. I was 50% blind, had aphasia, part of my skull still removed for another 3 months, difficult to walk and full of fear.
Please let me know if anyone would like to hear the experiences I've had during my recovery.