Friday, December 31, 2010

When life gives you lemons Part 2

A gentle knock on my hospital room door announced the arrival of 5 or 6 of the "white coat" brigade. Okey dokey, now I was really scared. Why would I, little ole' me, need to be seen by so many doctors? This was starting to look a little too serious for my liking. My stomach started to churn.

One of the doctors stepped forward introducing himself as the consultant neurologist on duty that day. I swear to God his introduction nearly made me throw up. I now understood that I was on the neurology ward, the "going's on" of the night before becoming oh so crystal clear.

I sat on my bed and tried to answer his questions without falling apart emotionally. There was the distracting whispering back and forth between the other attending doctors after each of my answers and there seemed to be a look of growing concern on the face of the neurologist. I was asked once again to perform a number of physical tasks, failing miserably at each and by then I could no longer hold back the tears. Understatement really. I was a sobbing, crying mess.

I didn't ask what the neurologist thought. I don't think I wanted to know or could handle knowing at that point. I was just plain scared.

An hour or so later an orderly arrived to take me away for some tests. A chest x-ray to begin with apparently. I don't exactly know why but this freaked me out. Totally. What the hell did a chest x-ray have to do with anything? What were they looking for? I lay on the bed, in the lift and vomited from pure fear. I vomited until I was dry retching and did not care who was there to see or hear it. I have never been that scared in my whole life, before or since. I had now convinced myself that "they" knew what was wrong, that "they" knew I was dying and the chest x-ray would just be confirmation of my demise, confirmation of what "they" already knew.

The whole x-ray thing was, as expected by all concerned, an ordeal. I had no sense of balance, had virtually no feeling in my legs and was trying to recover from a 10 minute bout of uncontrollable vomiting, retching and crying. I was scared out of my mind but yet had to stand up, stand still and hold my breath while the x-rays were taken.

I'd always thought I would be one of those stoic souls, one of those people that when faced with their own mortality would quietly go about their business without complaint or fear. Yeah right!
Apologies to the radiology staff and especially to the poor orderly left mopping up my puke...on Christmas Eve!

I was not back in my room long before once again I was taken for tests. An MRI this time.
I'd seen these tunnel like machines on many a medical show but had no idea how narrow the "tunnel" actually was. I remember saying something like "well that doesn't look too claustrophobic haha" when I entered the room but had no idea what sort of grief I was about to cause the MRI staff too.

Head first into the machine I made it about half way in before having a full on claustrophobic panic attack. I've never really liked small spaces but had no idea just how much until I had my first MRI experience. This was something else entirely.
I was pulled out and tried going in feet first instead. Nope.
I was put back in head first and was given an oxygen tube to blow cool air on my face. Nope.
I'm going to sound like a right royal pain in the arse again but no matter what they tried I just could not go into that machine. Once again I was a hysterical mess and now not only did I feel terrified, I felt guilty and was also bitterly disappointed in myself. I felt I was messing everyone around, wasting their time and now it also meant that I would not be going home. It was Christmas Eve and I would not be with my family.

Once back in my room it was confirmed that I would not be going home. An MRI by general anesthetic had been booked for the following morning - Christmas day. My symptoms were progressing at a rapid rate of knots and the MRI was crucial for both diagnosis and treatment.

By that evening my speech had begun to slur. I was slurring like a drunk but without the fun bit! I found I could not concentrate for long and would loose my train of thought easily and also began having difficulty finding the right word to use in a sentence. I felt like I was loosing my marbles!

My family spent Chistmas Eve with me and I cried for hours after they left. I lay in the dark that night alternating between crying and praying my heart out to a God I hadn't prayed to since I was a kid. A couple of years beforehand the mother of my husbands friend had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and as I lay there it struck me that maybe this is what I had and that absolutely pertrified me. I prayed and prayed and I wheeled and dealed with a God I no longer knew, that if He could spare me from MND I would accept anything else...anything else...just as long as I wasn't going to die. It was a long, long night.

Christmas morning finally dawned and once again I was wheeled down to the MRI department. This was it. When I awoke I would know my fate. I felt sick. Again!

"There's no tumor" were the first words I heard upon awakening. This was not said to me but in passing from the registrar neurologist whom I'd previously met to someone else in the room. He had a big smile on his face so this was good news. Very good news.

I was actually on a high once back in my room. A natural high from sheer relief that the MRI was actually over and that the news was seemingly very good. I relaxed for the first time in days.

The "there's no tumor" doctor came to visit me a little later on and explained that the test showed some little areas of inflammation on my brain and spine but not to be concerned, it was treatable and that no, I was not dying (one of my first questions!). This WAS excellent news. Then he informed me that he would be performing a lumbar puncture as my cerebospinal fluid needed to be tested. All par for the course apparently! The idea of having a needle shoved into my spine and having CSF drawn out while I was awake did not thrill me to bits but I really didn't care anymore due simply to the absolute relief I felt that I was not going to die.

to be continued...


skinny latte said...

Right, where's part 3?! xx