"Good Morning! Time for me to take a few vials of blood." The nurse cheerfully woke me up. I snuck a look at my phone expecting to see the numbers 8, 9 or at least 7. Nope - it was 4 a.m. Morning? That does not qualify as the morning. Apparently at the hospital it does. A steriod IV and an EEG Brain Test followed the blood test and another MRI of the spine is planned for later today.
I guess I should back track. How did I end up in this hospital bed at Northwestern Memorial Hospital when only a few days ago my biggest worry was when The Chicago Teacher's Union strike would end so my little ones could return to school and normalcy?
I woke up to the busy autumn morning noticing my right hand, forearm and foot seemed numb. Since I am a side sleeper, I figured I slept in a weird position.
At yoga a few hours later I flowed into a simple pose I do almost daily and realized there was a problem. When in Cat/Cow I tried to turn my toes under and noticed my right foot was almost frozen and couldn't move in a natural way that was easy the day prior. Throughout class I realized my balance was off and putting weight on my right foot seemed impossible.
Despite this I felt fine and really had no pain, more discomfort. I limped through the sunny day including a baby shower, a circus in the park and dinner with the kids afterwards.
I was awake in the middle of the night, both worried and uncomfortable and did the worst possible thing: I Googled Numb Right Food and Hand.
My husband insisted I stayed home all day to rest my foot and body in hopes it would heal. For me, doing nothing is a major challenge especially since I didn't feel sick or in pain, just uncomfortable, walking with a limp and a fear of the unknown.
Up early I immediately made a doctors appointment with my Internist and found childcare for the kids, of course this would be the day that Chicago Teacher Union strikes for the first time in 25 years.
Besides my limping I'm in good spirits. The doctor does a series of tests and concludes that I have Foot Drop and a little numbing in my arm that "are very real." He orders an MRI of the brain and neck to rule out Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological disorders.
I took care of the paperwork and quickly called to schedule my MRI. The less I thought about it the better and luckily they had an appointment available that evening.
The nerves began to take over my body and I couldn't figure out if I was worried about the diagnosis or the confined space of the MRI. Thanks to my new best friend Valium, I had a pleasant experience in the tomb-like MRI and was relieved when it was over.
Day two of the strike also happened to coincide with September 11th, still the sun was shining and I tried to be positive. I was frustrated that I couldn't take the kids bike riding, on a walk or even to a museum because walking was getting harder and harder. Eating was one of the only things I could do easily - so the kids and I headed out for our homeschooling lesson of the day: sushi. I'm grateful we had that fun and tasty lunch together before the call came.
My doctor's voice told me there were lesions on my brain and neck that were indicative of MS and I needed to be admitted to the hospital today to begin steroid treatments immediately.
The record screeched and again I had to figure out childcare (How can I ever repay my family?) and next thing I knew I was packing my bag and heading to the hospital.
We arrived at 6:00 p.m., waited and waited and I wasn't into my room until 1:30 a.m. It was hours of poking, prodding, touching my finger to my nose and walking in a straight line before I finally received steroids and tried to sleep. I was woken up at 4 a.m. for a chest x-ray.
Here I am in my hospital bed with a revolving door of visits from neurologist residents, students, doctors, occupation and physical therapists, friends and family with lots of neurological lingo floating around.
I am told the steroids hopefully will temporarily fix my foot and numbness. Of course I worry about the affects of the steroids or if I'll spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair and I wonder what causes these types of degenerative diseases.
Regardless I am optimistic I'll be teaching yoga and running after my kids next week.
Now I turn to you. Have you had any experience with a demyelinating disease or MS?
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- Check out my 2014 photo project How Quickly They Change.