By Lynet Ndichu
The streets were filled with multiple colored school uniforms, indicating the close of schools. The matatu I was in was not spared. There were all sorts of stories about how the term was and how exciting it was to go on the break. Being a nurse, one conversation in particular caught my attention.
I heard two girls seated behind me talking about how one of them had a series of headaches but never had a chance to go get checked. Suddenly, I heard one of the girls asking the other if she was okay. I had to turn and see what was up. One of the girls, Diana, was holding her head in pain and calling for help. We had boarded a matatu to Meru.
Diana continued complaining on the sudden agonizing headache.
Diana later described her headache as a thunder slap, similar to a sudden hit on the head resulting in blinding pain unlike anything experienced before, numbness of one side of the face and she suddenly became sensitive to light and complained of double vision.
“This was not the kind of headaches one gets due to fatigue,” I said to myself. Being a nurse i thought I could help.
I requested one of her friends if we could switch positions and she gladly did. Diana later complained of nausea.
“How long has the headache been there?” I asked her.
“For a while now maybe one week or so but I didn’t bother going to the hospital as I thought it could go…but seems not the case…” she stammered.
“Let’s hope it isn’t brain aneurysm,” I thought out loud. One of her friend asked what aneurysm was.
Aneurysm is a bulge in the blood vessel caused by a weakness in the blood vessel wall usually where it branches. It usually occurs either in the abdominal aorta (an artery that transports blood away from the heart to the rest of the body) and the brain. Brain or cerebral aneurysm develops inside the brain and it’s an alarming condition that need immediate checkup.
A few minutes later, Diana started having seizures (involuntar y muscle movement).
“This must be an aneurysm,” I shouted. We requested the driver to drive to the nearest health facility as I protected Diana from any harm .
Most brain aneurysm only cause noticeable symptoms if they burst leading to a serious condition known as subarachnoid hemorrhage and can lead to brain damage.
By the time we got to the hospital, Diana had stopped convulsing. I explained to the doctor about Diana’s condition and the symptoms she had been experiencing. The doctor said that if brain aneurysm is detected before it ruptures, treatment may be recommended to prevent it from rupturing in future.
“What are some the ways you can detect a brain rupture?” One of the girls asked.
• MRI scans
• CT scan to check for bleeding in
• Lumbar puncture. A lumbar
puncture is the removal of a sample of the fluid in the brain through the spine (cerebrospinal fluid). The fluid can be analyzed for signs of bleeding.
The doctor explained that Diana had a ruptured brain aneurysm that had been detected through an MRI scan and an emergency surgical procedure was necessar y.
Either clipping or coiling can be used to reduce the rupture and this is determined by the size, location and shape of the aneurysm. Coiling has generally been shown to have a lower risk of complications such as seizure.
Diana’s mother was called to be briefed on her daughter ’s condition. She soon arrived, and after the briefing,signed a consent note for the surgical procedure to be carried out.
Here are some of the factors that cause aneur ysm.
• Smoking: tobacco damages the
walls of your blood vessels
• High blood pressure: can place high pressure on the walls of the
blood vessels inside the brain.
• Family history: some are hereditary • Age: 40years and above this is
because the walls of the blood
vessels are weakened over time • Gender: women are more likely than men. This is because estrogen lower significantly after menopause and is thought to help maintain the elasticity of the blood vessel. • Severe head injury: a brain aneurysm can develop after a severe brain injury if the blood vessels in the brain are damaged.
Diana’s friends were so scared that one could see it on their faces. She was wheeled to theatre as her mother and friends waited at the reception. I left there after.
It is advisable to monitor blood pressure and avoid smoking to avoid the risk of getting aneur ysm.