Adventure. Adventure? I'm not too sure. Definitely a first for myself. I would count this trip to the hospital my first "adventure" there directly from MS. I did have a 24 hour stay in October 2011, but technically I went because of an allergic reaction to antibiotics meant to keep OUT of the hospital. I had the threat of a urinary tract infection and when you are receiving IV Steroids for a MS Flare they lower your immunity to fight off infections, at that time they wanted me to first get started on some antibiotics so the UTI didn't turn into a more dangerous infection. Ironically, I was allergic to those meds and they are what sent me to the ER, MS kept me overnight for the IV Steroids. But I digress.
This time it was MS that took me there and admitted me for 3 days. Adventure? Hmmmm. It was interesting. It was scary. It was unexpected. It was unpredictable. There was drama. There was suspense. There was fear and even some comedy bits thrown in. I suppose these are elements needed for a great adventure, but to me it felt differently.
As I told you in some of my last posts, I have had lots of drama surrounding my MS with repeated tests for MS diagnosis, including a spinal tap. I also, was in an MS Flare brought on by the stress of all of this, not to mention the Summer heat. So, the spinal tap was Tues. 6/19th followed by 2 days flat, in bed, bored and with every other muscle in my body in pain because of this lack of movements and lying in bed for 48 hrs. This was followed by 2 days of IV Steroids and a blood patch (when they take some of your own blood and inject where the spinal tap was given to encourage your body to clot the hole created by the spinal tap) since the headache was still growing.
All that was completed that Friday 6/22nd, but by Saturday afternoon the headache was returning. I filled the pain prescription originally given to me for the spinal tap, if needed. I needed it since it was the weekend and I wanted to try to hold off to talk to my dr on Monday. The meds helped a little. On Sunday, my family helped me delivering newspapers. My husband & daughter took my regular route to throw papers door-to-door, or really porch-to-porch. My son & myself, sat in the car and put flyers with sample newspapers into bags and eventually headed out to throw them out the window into driveways. Both tasks are time consuming, but the sample throwing was less of a strain on my body.
I came home with my son around 9am and my husband and daughter returned by 10am. Normally, I would not get home until 1 or 2pm on Sunday, so the help was invaluable. Once, I was home and settled, I plopped my butt in our recliner and wrote thank you notes for my MS Walk and Family Game Night donations. I got a really good start, but didn't finish them all. I didn't really get a chance to take a nap before my body decided to rebel against me.
It started with some tension in my neck which isn't unusual as I get tension headaches. While I had received my nerve blockers, I had yet to start physical therapy (PT) to help alleviate them further. So tension in my neck that then seemed to spread down to my right arm and was not only numbing it, but making my arm seem very heavy. I comment to my family about it, but no one seems overly concerned at this point. (I get it. Sometimes my health is so overwhelming that it can cause indifference. With everything I've gone through in the past couple of weeks, this last week took a toll on them too.)
Then the numbness and heaviness starts to go into my right leg as well. I tell my family who want to know what this means. I don't know! I decide to call my neuro on the after hours line. I tell the operator what is going on and she says she will contact the dr on call. 20 mins pass. The recording before the operator did mention that the neuro may not call back if he determines your issue can wait until regular business hours. I find this weird because who would call that if there wasn't a real emergency or at least what the patient feels is NOT normal? However, there are all kinds of people in the world who do create more drama then necessary. I call the answering service again and explain it's my second call and that I had a spinal tap recently including IV Steroids and this is my second message for the neuro.
I decide to call my dear friend, Kelly Q. who not only has MS, but has her pharmacist license. Her boyfriend tells me their about to sit down for dinner, but I say I need to talk to her about my health and it's important. I'm NOT the person to push on petty things so she comes to the phone knowing it must be important. I tell her about my numb arm and into my leg & she asks if it's just numb or is it also heavy? I tell her I just used that exact word, heavy, to describe how it felt. She says that if I don't talk to neuro soon I need to go to the ER because this is one of those things that if let gone too long can determine what nerves do and do NOT come back. Permanently. We speak about other things I should be telling the ER and my other line rings from the neuro. I say good bye and switch lines to tell neuro my story. He says "Go to the ER. Don't mess around with this. Go to the ER now. I don't care if you drive or call an ambulance, but go now." I said ok and thanks. I hang up and tell my husband who immediately thinks the worst. I call my mother to take me so my husband can stay with the kids and I can stay relaxed.
I know what you're thinking. My husband should take me and my mom should stay with the kids, right? No. I'm sure we all know those people who are good in a crisis and who are not. We also know the people who don't do well waiting. My husband does not do well waiting at the hospital. He becomes uncomfortable in the crappy chairs, as we all do, and has no patience waiting for doctors. Basically, his being uncomfortable and being inpatient feed into his fear and then he starts to get angry at what is taking so long. This then causes the effect of me worrying about him and stressing over every little move or groan that may lead to an outburst. Don't get me wrong. I have an amazing husband who is supportive and caring in so many ways. For this, I have learned I need him to stay home until there is a reason he NEEDS to be there. Bringing my mom, I know she's uncomfortable, but she's there for the duration and willingly. As long as I can keep her from going "Terms of Endearment" ala Shirley McClain on the emergency staff, we're good. ;)
My husband helps me to the car and I tell the kids not to worry and off we went. We went to the hospital in the suburbs rather than the city one where I normally go. People always ask why I don't go to the suburb one cuz it's "less busy" and "you'll avoid getting put behind all the gun shot wounds". It's in Detroit, not smack in the middle, but on the Detroit border. A good hospital where I was born as well as both of my children. I decide to buy into all of the pressure from said comments. Mistake. This hospital is in the same group as far as the name, but not all of the privileges given at one hospital transfer to this one. Also, the recent closure of the bi-county hospital has caused their hospital to go into overload. When we arrive, I can't feel the left leg either and can barely lift both now. I'm taking in by wheelchair to sign in. When they take me back to triage, they do a quick EKG and then stick me back into the waiting area.
This confuses me as my neuro made it sound pretty urgent that I get there. After an hour and a half, I'm finally brought to the back am helped/lifted into bed, stripped of my clothing (that was a little humiliating that I couldn't take off my own clothes.) and told they have a call into my neuro. Once they speak with him and have the resident dr see me they order a CT Scan with blood work. After that, back to bed in ER. I fall asleep, mom in chair beside me. Morning comes, nothing has been done. I'm told they spoke with neuro and he ordered me admitted and an MRI at 2 am. Unfortunately, they don't have any beds for me yet. (End Part #1)