I Shall Forever Hate the Word Headache

This was originally posted to my blog, Diabetes Odyssey.

For those of you who are new to my blog, I have been going through some painful symptoms lately. For well over a month now I’ve been getting dizzy spells. About two or so weeks ago I strted getting terrible headaches. And about a week and a half ago I started having a painful, and eventually swollen, lymph node on my neck.

I saw my primary on Tuesday. Did labs, and started antibiotics. The labs came back with some abnormal results, but nothing to explain the pain and the lymph node issues.

Well, I woke up yesterday morning with dizzy spells right off the bat. Not too long later the headache started and just got worse and worse. I kept throwing the idea of going to the ER around, but I hate doing that when I don’t think I’m having an emergency.

It was Friday, though, and there was the point that I would have to wait until Monday to see my primary. What if the symptoms continued or got worse? I was already in near unbearable pain.

Then I started getting chest pain, palpitations, and shortness of breath… was this anxiety from the pain? Or was I really having heart problems (I do have heart disease)?

My hubby got home from work at 6ish and he made the decision for me.

“Let’s go.”

We got to the ER and signed in. It took an hour for them to call me for triage. By then I was crying from the pain and people who know me know that if I’m crying in pain then it’s really bad pain. I have a high tolerance for pain.

We told the triage nurse all about my symptoms including the chest pain.

You would think the chest pain would put me at the top of the list, right? Well, nearly three hours later everyone was getting called in before me. Some people who obviously had more minor issues than chest pain.

My hubby went up to the window to inquire why I had not been called yet. The receptionist looked me up and said:

“A headache is not considered urgent.”

“Headache?!” Hubby said. He asked her why my chest pain was not listed. The receptionist was flabbergasted and promised to fix the issue.

It was probably fifteen minutes later that I got called in.

They put me on IV, gave me a migraine cocktail which made my chest hurt worse, did an EKG, CT Scan, blood work, blood cultures.

Part of the blood work was a BG test. It came out at 222.

“OK, no problem, I’ll correct it right now.” I told the nurse as I pulled out my insulin pump.

I was relieved that she put up no resistance. Sometimes hospitals like to try to take control of EVERYTHING. They left my diabetes to me.


EKG was normal, CT Scan didn’t show anything worrisome, blood-work didn’t indicate an infection. ER doctor sent me home with Hydrocodone for the headaches and basically said they don’t know why my lymph node is angry and I’ll just have to wait it out.

All in all I was in ER for like ten hours.

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I hope your killer headache has resolved and won’t come back!

Make sure you put a call in to your PCP on Monday and make sure s/he is updated RE your symptoms, trip to the ER, outcome, etc. If you were my patient, I’d be ordering a cranial MRI…

Keep us posted, Tamra. :sparkling_heart:

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It’s still here and still bad, but the hydrocodone takes the pain away. I’m just trying not too take it too often… I would just really love to know what the cause of all this is. Is the swelling of my lymph node causing the headaches? Or are these separate issues? And why the heck is my lymph node so freakin’ angry? I just hate being in the dark.

I had a similar issue almost twenty years ago. I was 17, got excruciating headaches, swollen lymph node in my neck on the left side, however, I don’t remember chest pains. I had several MRIs which showed the swollen lymph node, but were normal otherwise. My ENT decided to remove my tonsils and adnoids, which helped nothing except my recurrect tonsillitis. After a few months he decided to do a biopsy and removed the offending lymph node as well as a few surrounding ones, but nothing was found except that the paticular lymph node was not doing its job (I’m fuzzy on the details anymore). Removing it did end the head and neck pain, but I can tell when I am getting sick with something because it will come back briefly (which I blame on scar tissue from a terrible closure).
So, long story short, the lymph node could cause it. Hopefully they can get it taken care of, because headaches are evil.

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I hope you’re feeling better Tamra. I’m sorry you received such terrible care. A severe headache is or could be an emergency. I would definitely follow up with further tests. For migraines Imitrex is the only thing that works for me although lately I have been avoiding it because I don’t know how it will affect my bg/insulin etc.