Sunday, October 7, 2007

A tough decision

As many of my close friends know, I haven't been feeling well for the past three weeks. I have been plagued with awful headaches that are the worst in the morning and kick back in during the early evening.

I had planned to compete in Miss North East Ohio for a long time, and had originally come home this weekend in order to do that. When multiple health center and doctor visits, including numerous medicines, didn't work to stop the headaches, the doctor I was seeing recommended a CT scan and a visit with a neurologist. The earliest this could happen in Virginia was October 28th, and I would have had to pay out of pocket for the CT scan because of my insurance. I called my mom and she got me an appointment with her neurologist this past Friday, so I flew home a day earlier than planned. I did this because of the prolonged pain, which I couldn't seem to keep under control. On Wednesday, when I went to my internship, my supervisor noted that I didn't look well and she sent me back to RMWC. My friend who lives next door passed my room about 12:30, and said I looked really bad and needed to go to the health center. My headache was getting increasingly worse, my speech was somewhat slurred, and I felt extremely dizzy. I went immediately to the health center.

This resulted in a trip to the emergency room, where my boss and another staff member from the Dean of Students stayed with me. I was injected again with medicine through my back, which was very painful and made me nauseous. I had a CT scan done and spent the entire afternoon in the ER, missing econometrics and my senior seminar in economics. Those who know me know that I don't miss class-ever. The 24 hours prior to my flight I couldn't keep any food down and I was starving.

Let me tell you, this is the worst possible way to approach a pageant. I was dizzy, weak, hungry, and plagued with the headaches. On Friday afternoon, I saw the neurologist, which was a Godsend. We determined that I had hereditary migraines, and that mine were cyclical so three weeks into this, my head was actually sore from the continuous pain. We figured out medicines and a plan to keep from getting the headaches (hopefully) and treated the immediate headache I had. Since I am still adjusting to the medicines, which make me very tired, I was very worried about competing.

Still, I was determined to push through. Until last night. I packed up all my pageant gear and my brother, my mother, and myself drove over to Canton and checked into a hotel. As the night went on, I felt the headache creeping back. We finally decided that I had to take the medicine, although I had problems falling asleep and wouldn't get a full nights rest. I woke up this morning at 5:30 AM to blinding pain. I immediately took the medicine, but the combination of it all wore me out. At this point, I knew the odds of me performing my tap dance were physically impossible. My body was dragging, and my physical exertion was limited because of the migraine.
At 6:30, I made the executive decision to withdraw from Miss NE Ohio. If I had attended, I doubt I would have been able to perform my talent, and I would have been miserable the entire day. I can tell you now at 6 PM that most of the day I have been moving very slow and just recently got rid of the headache. Luckily, my fall break at school is coming up, so I will have several days to recover.

I called Anne right away, as well as the Civic Center, hoping that someone would get the message to her. I sincerely hated having to pull out at the last minute, although I knew in my gut that I was not up to the physical work competing in a preliminary requires. I have been looking forward to this for weeks, but I know that I made the right decision for my health. I think that pushing myself today would have given in to another headache, and I wouldn't have been able to sleep tonight or fly back to Virginia tomorrow (I have to take my biology lab practical on Tuesday).

I am handling the situation, and the medicine is certainly helping me gain control of the headaches. My hope that is over the next week, the headaches will disappear and I can focus again on my schoolwork, which became increasingly hard to handle as time went on and the headaches increased. I feel awful for leaving the pageant directors in the lurch, but I know that I would have been miserable giving my best in my tap dance, and even the interview, if I had remained in the pageant.

I hope all the girls had a wonderful day, and I am sorry that I couldn't be there.


Elizabeth said...

Laura- I feel quite blessed to have found your blog! As an alum ('82) I appreciate the voice you have lent to this turmoil, and I will be following your senior year with both delight and fond memories.
I'm going to spend my "quiet day" (Columbus Day, and the kids have school...) reading your other two blogs, but with a quick perusal, the Falwell post caught my eye. Funny how things had not changed in 25 years.

Feel better, work hard now so you can play in March and April, and, if you do nothing else, hug you dear college friends as much as you can this year and let them know NOW how important they are to you. If you are like me, these amazing women of RMWC will get you through the rest of your life..

email if you want- I'd love to trade stories-

Cheers- Elizabeth

Amy Allen said...

I will be praying for you. I know you had to be in so much pain if you traveled all the way from Virginia and then decided to not compete. Get well soon.