Some of you have asked what it was that I reacted to, it was Cymbalta, an SNRI type antidepressant. It comes as delayed release capsules, I took the starting dose of 30mg at 10.30am, as instructed by my psychiatrist. The first signs of a reaction started to appear mid afternoon, I felt like I was running a fever, but when I took my temp, I wasn't. By about 6.30pm I was completely unable to move or speak, I could blink and just about squeeze someones hand and make sounds when exhaling. All I could do was pray and eventually someone called 911.
The 911 people were fantastic, they saw pretty quickly that there was something wrong, mostly due to observing that my pupils were dilated. They took my blood pressure and it was only slightly high, they didn't seem to think that was significant, particularly because Andrew said I had high blood pressure, he was referring to me having suffered high blood pressure at the end of pregnancy, my BP the day before had been 120/80, but he didn't know that, my BP as taken by the EMTs was 150/100.
A second ambulance came with what I think had people with more medical training, they decided I was stable enough to transfer with the first ambulance guys, but it took all 4 of them to get me into the ambulance. Thankfully as Andrew's mum was with us, Andrew could get straight in the car and come with me.
Unluckily, the nurse that met me on arrival was not particularly kind to me, I don't think she believed that I really could not move or speak and because they had the information that I had postpartum depression I think she was treating me as if I was actiing up. She kept asking me how old the baby was, but 'f' is a sound you really need your tongue to make, so I couldn't tell her, though I tried hard. Fortunately the ambulance guy stayed with me a while and was telling her that I was happy and he could see my eyes light up when my husband spoke to me and stuff like that. But she still acted as if I was fighting her rather than just completely unable to assist in getting a gown on.
Because Andrew had travelled separately he was waiting outside for them to check me in so I appeared in the computer system and he could get a sticker to say he was visiting whatever room I was in! Thankfully he was with me before the doctor, otherwise any kind of communication would have been interesting.
What I didn't manage to communicate was how much pain I was in, I'd lost the ability to move with my neck in an odd position and various bits of me were agony as I was unable to move to take the pressure off them. He ordered blood work and zofran for the nausea I was experiencing and benadryl (an antihistamine) to deal with the reaction.
My friend Anita was also there, as I'd called her earlier in the reaction and it was her calling to check on me, then dashing over when Andrew said I couldn't speak that had triggered actually calling 911. It was so helpful having two people there as when I tried to communicate they could guess and feed of each other and listen for my reaction! It also meant Andrew could go and get some food without leaving me alone. At my request, she read the bible to me, which was fantastic.
Then movement gradually started to come back, my tongue and neck first which meant I could try and ease the pain there my stretching and also communicate again! The doctor came back and told me that they were admitting me and I asked him about getting something for the pain and he said yes, then must have got distracted and forgot to sort it out!
I finally got some, though it didn't completely take the pain away. Meanwhile the automatic BP readings every 15 minutes were climbing and setting off alarms, though no one came running!
When the hospitalist arrived to sort out admitting me, my blood pressure had hit 170/132 and he said pain and anxiety could be causing that, I didn't feel anxious, as I felt totally confident in God having a purpose of this experience. However he said that because it was an antidepressant reaction that anti anxiety meds would actually help restore normal brain function, so I said ok and he had the nurse give me some of them and more pain meds there and then and wrote me up for more once I was on the ward.
Most of what happened the next 24 hours is a blur, I guess because of all the drugs. I had an MRI, which was normal, as we expected it to be, but I think they needed to comfirm I hadn't had a stroke or something.
I came home Friday morning, emotionally I'm doing well, physically not quite so well, I think it's just going to take time, there must be plenty of stuff that an MRI can't see that still needs to heal, I think various receptors in my brain must be all confused!