Abigail Vanbuskirk’s Brain Aneurysm Story

On June 11th 2022, it was a regular day off as normal. I had went with a friend to take my son on a walk, as we returned to the car he drove. I remember sitting in the passenger seat, but after that pure darkness. As I sit and question, how did I get home? What did I even make for dinner? What happened that night? Will I ever know the answers to the questions that I contain?
Around 130am on June 12th I started a long journey at my place of work. I thankfully had a friend staying that night, whom was able to call 911 the moment I started shaking, vomiting, and screaming about the pain in my back and neck. I can recall “what’s your” and myself repeating my own phone number over and over. Ems picked me up and brought me to my place of work, being a security guard and familiar with all the staff they knew the behavior was out of touch compared to the girl they have known for two years. I was listed as a seizure with possibility of drug use. Little did I know my grandmother was being woken that night by someone she thankfully had just met that day. She rushed in to find me in the hospital bed with a virtual sitter. All I remember then was her soft voice telling me it was going to be okay. Later on speaking to the staff, they described me as agitated, angry, and aggressive. These are several traits of the people I deal with on the daily as a security officer. Into my stay I was taken for a CT.  That’s when they saw the blood. Grandma told me they came back and rushed me into a CAT. Then they saw I had an aneurysm rupture. I was then rushed from the pediatric er into a trauma room. Hours went by. My mom woke in the middle of the night with the words of, “something is wrong with Abby” in here head. My parents, both rushed in from a hour or more away. Nobody knew what a journey we all would take. This all took place on a Sunday evening, I recall waking up on a Wednesday with what my security friends called my unicorn horn. I was surrounded by so many friends and family, but still didn’t quite process what happened or where my child was. Later on I found out I was intubated, in which was suppose to be 3-4 days turned into less than 24 hours due to me fighting the intubation. My coworkers told me I wanted to speak to them and was angry that I couldn’t. Next time I was lucid, I then noticed my hair was missing, bald right on the top of my head. The pain I felt of the loss of hair became stronger than any other feeling. I then decided to shave the rest. Days turned into what felt like months. Several times I went into a black out. I remember being told I had a 1% chance of making it there alive, and 50/50 of making it thru my coiling. Still yet to process everything, all I could think was, “They’re going to put staples in my head.” After removal of the drain I declined. The neck pain and back pain became severe. Hallucinations began to kick in, conversations with my mom felt like reality only to ask where she went and to find out she wasn’t there. When it all began, I lost my ability to even walk. I spent several nights curled up in my bed.  It wasn’t until a coworker came to see me and finally got me up. By day 20 I started walking on my own. I remember being a horrible patient and pressing the call light hoping I’d get some kind of help but not knowing what I needed. I started vomiting, and it hurt to move. All I wanted was my mom. I was restricted from my phone but wouldn’t give it up. During this time I had security alerts called, I spoke to staff inappropriately and had no idea what was going on. 25 long days, 4 angios, several CTAS, 23 dooplers and so many forgotten things. Several nights of trying to escape. My kid became someone I didn’t see everyday, my dogs cuddles became something I missed every single day.
After the 25 days, I became aware that the fight was not over. The 3mm Annie had a neck that ended up being oddly shaped and super thin. The neck measured 2.8mm. I required yet another brain surgery, but this time it was open and a 3 hour car ride to the procedure.
I was under the impression I could go home and wait until my appointment to be seen again. I thought I could heal then go back to work, start learning to become the mom I was before, while carrying the exhaustion and all the health issues, I was wrong. Released on July 7th, and right back in July 10th. This time I came to find out I had a small stroke, thankfully no deficits came. Several trips to the ER and rides down to the new hospital. Surgery was finally scheduled. September 1st 2022, my aneurysm was clipped. That surgery was yet another bump into a long road. The entire 5 day ICU stay was a black out, and all I heard was I was not a happy camper and right before being released I had issues with my white blood cell count sky rocketing. Thankfully I had an uncle whom was well known in the medical community and my aunt who was able to take care of me. Going home was hard, by the weekend post surgery I had gotten several fevers of over 103 that would not come down, after 2 er trips I was rushed back down the St. Vincent’s, where my clipping was preformed. I spent a week down there with no answers to the fever. When I got home I was brought my kid, and all I could think was what happens if it happens again and I’m alone. The fears eat my mind everyday. It is now November, I struggle with high blood pressure, cholesterol, and chest pains. Let’s not forget the severe headaches.
Something I never thought or knew I’d survive, I survived. However nothing is the same anymore, the exhaustion comes quickly. Going back to work became strange because I started relating to every angry person, from not getting meds, to wanting to leave, to having so much anger built up you take it out on the wrong people, to even simple not knowing or understanding what was going on. June 12th changed my life, for the good no, but hopefully one day I’ll see it as a fight I over came and survived. As for now I’ll continue questioning, “why me and not them”, why didn’t they survive like I did. How did I come out of this better then most, how did I learn to parent, walk, speak, remember so easily. How did this even happen? The questions will always remain unanswered. For myself, for my family, and for anyone who’s ever had a aneurysm or lost someone because of it.