My mother was waiting and watching at the window when I arrived home. She was still worried about my health and had already made an appointment with a doctor. What good will it do, I thought to myself with a sigh, but promised to go. I did take it partly seriously because I had never fainted in my life before. Nevertheless, I did not stop to think about possible consequences.
Early the next the morning we were at the Health Centre. We were sitting in the corridor waiting for the tests results. Finally, the doctor came. He said that the laboratory tests showed nothing alarming. I was told to go home and rest. The doctor stated that it was probably just a bad cold. He also said that I should eat more what I had been expecting to hear.
The symptoms continued and just got worse. The headaches and nausea grew stronger. Sometimes my speech was for a short time unclear, as like of a person who is drunk even though I was sober. When I walked, it felt as though someone was pulling me to the right, but since the doctors did not find a reason for nausea. I went home and tried to continue my life as though there was nothing to worry about.
There was no fainting feeling for the three weeks leading to the stroke. It surprised me that it did not happen at all during Christmas. Maybe the blood clot was already so high in the brain that fainting part was over.
During that Christmas I never felt completely like myself, I wasn´t the usual full of energy me. I thought that it was because of the weather. Being used to Californian sun and excellent warm weather almost every day of the year and suddenly this cold and dark super depressing weather.
Winters are usually very nice, beautiful, and light because of snow everywhere, but there was no snow that year. It was all the time very dark. A very peculiar black Christmas. Black in every sense.
The tragic night.
That evening I was at home on the couch watching television. I sat there for a short time. I felt sick and felt like going to bed. I walked towards the narrow stairs that lead to my room upstairs. As I passed the kitchen, I told my mother that I was going to rest for a while. Something in my voice caught my mom’s attention, and she followed me upstairs a few minutes later.
She found me on the bed looking odd and feeling nauseous. My speech was unclear, and I could hardly walk. When mom tried to lift me to my feet, I slipped back to the bed. Mom was so frightened by this that she drove me straight to hospital although that doctor in health center said this would pass at home with some TLC.
At the hospital, routines were set in motion. I was questioned, and a range of tests was ordered. The doctor’s attitude was cynical: looks like this girl has a drug problem. What drugs were you on in the States they asked? Mom was in shock and did not have the energy to get angry even though she knew Kati did not use drugs.
I started to stammer and I was nauseous. After vomiting, I felt better for a short while. My eyes twitched involuntarily. The test results arrived indicating nystagmus, which is a dangerous symptom of a disease originating in the brain. Inflammation of the equilibrium nerve, cerebral hemorrhaging and cerebral meningitis were suspected.
One by one and all at the same time, possible causes were disregarded, but the symptoms did not indicate any disease. The doctor ordered a CAT scan, but nothing unusual was found. No swelling, no hemorrhaging and no clots.
We were in the Out-Patient Clinic until 3 am when I was transferred to the Neurology Ward. Mom got permission to sleep in a storeroom, in an unused bed. Sleep just did not come. The doctors said that it was just a virus. Can this be true?
The doctor who was on call phoned a neurologist who was not on duty early the next morning. There were no neurologists on call at the hospital. Based on an EEG, the probable reason for the symptoms was inflammation of the brain; antibiotic treatment was then started.
The following was on the chart: ‘the patient stares, doesn’t answer questions, and is drowsy. Hands are rigid and twitch ‘oddly.’ Someone had said the word ‘stroke’, and it was written down with a question mark. The possibility of this was so improbable in such a young patient.