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Death to squishy

April 1, 2011

So, I get to the ER yesterday early evening and am immediately confused as to where to go. The hospital is going through massive renovations right now so everything keeps getting moved around. I find the triage nurse, show her the paper from my GP and tell her I was sent in for a CT scan. She asks me a million questions about my current and previous episodes. She asks about the stressball, previous doctor visits, and asks me if I drive. I do drive, but not when I’m going through an episode and I hope it stays that way (I’m worried the neurologist will take my license away as he tends to do that at the drop of a hat to a lot of people. Understandable usually but he does tend to do that to people that shouldn’t have it taken away). She takes my baseline vitals and I see on the monitor that my blood pressure is really high from the stress.

I’m still shaking like crazy and my muscles are starting to seize up pretty badly. When the triage nurse is done with the questions, I get sent to the receptionist to start my file and get a bracelit. After that I didn’t even have time to sit down in the waiting room, I was just about to sit down when the triage nurse comes out and tells me to come with her. I follow her slowly to the acute care beds, making full use of the rails along the walls since I was having a really hard time walking at that point. A very nice ER nurse greets me and leads me to a bed and gives me a gown to change into. After struggling with the ties on the gown for a while the ER nurse comes back (I managed to get the ties near the neck done), hooks me up to a heart monitor and takes my vitals again. She asked me a few questions about my condition and I could tell by the look on her face that she couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong. A med lab tech comes and takes several vials of blood. When she took the blanket off me and saw the ball in my hand she seemed a little happy for a minute since it helps to pump the muscles in your arm when getting blood taken. She stretches out my left arm and asks me to squeeze the ball. I tried so hard to stop shaking as she took my blood, my muscles tensed up completely and it was just agonizing. She was great though, I barely felt the needle at all.

As I’m laying in the bed waiting for the ER doctor, I started to think…and panic. Is this what I’m going to end up like? Just laying in a hospital bed, shaking like crazy, muscles tensed, in pain, and alone? I could feel my face getting hot and my eyes welling up so I kept just trying to stare at the clock and the spiffy new monitor they had mounted on the wall. I kept trying not to think of it but I couldn’t help but wonder how I’m going to end up and it was horrifying. I couldn’t help but think of the first patient I had as a student when I was in college. An MS patient that had been diagnosed when they were starting nursing school. In September I’m due to start a course that will hopefully land me in an advanced standing seat into a bachelor of science in nursing program. I kept picturing all the tubes, the tensed muscles, the gurgles when trying to talk, and I just felt and overwhelming sense of doom.

I could hear the nurses chatting about everyday things and the patients. Whats in that bed? Oh, that one is being sent for an xray. What about that one? …honestly, I don’t know yet. I heard murmurs of the red ball, and “I really don’t knw what is is…”

I was lost in panicy thoughts when the doctor came in. She said something in french (since my name is french people tend to assume I speak it fluently). I snapped out of it and said huh? She asked me if I wanted english instead, I said yes please and she started asking questions and scratching her head. She did a quick neurological exam on me. I had to let go of the ball and try to reach out to grab it, which made the shaking worse. I had to keep my arms held out straight with my eyes closed, which was surprisingly painful, and when I opened them I realized my left arm had drifted back towards my chest, my hand folded down with my palm towards my wrist. I hadn’t really thought about what position my hand was in most of the time, but the ER doctor pointed out that my hand was almost constantly folded down with my palm facing my wrist. She asked me to smile as wide as I could and frown as much as I could. I must have looked rediculous doing this. I have no idea what it  looked like but it was really hard to force those expressions, and I know my eyes were welling up when I had to smile. I felt my chin and lips start to shake and the left side of my face start to tingle, which was something I never noticed before. She asked me to follow her finger with my eyes. I started to and she told me no no, only with your eyes not your head…which was what I thought I was doing, but apparently my head started to shake a little.

She left and came back a few times, looking for my old ER records (turns out they were mainly lost somehow during all the construction. The only thing they had on me was an ER visit in 1988). She tried calling the neurologist to get my file from him, but unfortunately he’s on vacation for 2 weeks. She called CT several times but they were closed for the day, and since my situation wasn’t life threatening, I would have to wait for the scan. She did everything she could to do whatever she could for me but her hands were really tied. She was so nice and so patient, I’m very lucky I got the doctor I did, she was fantastic. She gave me several printouts on tremors and various conditions that cause it. She explained that it’s not likely Parkinson’s disease since my tremor is more action tremor than resting tremor, and pointed to a section on one of the printouts and told me that was more like what I had. The first words that jumped out at me were “most common cause: multiple sclerosis”. My heart jumped into my throat and I couldn’t stop staring at the paper. She told me that I didn’t have to read the papers now, and explained that she didn’t want to prescribe anything for the tremors since she didn’t know the cause of it yet. She told me that my vitals were fine and since I’ve waited 8 years with this condition, 2 more weeks should be ok. She made sure I would get a CT scan done during the next two weeks, then see the neurologist as soon as he got back. She offered to give me a referral to a different neurologist in a different city, just incase the one in town doesn’t work out. In short, she told me if he doesn’t order an MRI, go see my family doctor again for a different referral, or go see her and get a new one.  She seemed impressed at how I adapted to the symptoms over the years and confused by how quiet I’ve been about it. Everything that could be done was done, so I got to go home and wait for the call for my CT scan.

I slowly get myself dressed (I’ve gotten used to getting dressing using one arm) and leave the ER. This morning, I got the call for my CT scan. I’m going in tomorrow morning at 8am (sister is driving me). I’m so many things right now. Excited things are finally being done, scared about what it could be, exhausted just thinking about how long it might take to get a diagnosis, worried about how much treatments might cost since I have no health insurance, the nerd in me is a little excited about the scan since I’ve never had one done before but am fascinated by those types of things, feeling oddly upbeat since no matter what it is I’m too bloody stubborn to let it stop me from doing anything, worried my sister might sleep in and I’ll miss the appointment, worried I’ll sleep in and miss the appointment, happy that the doctors are taking this seriously and moving things along so quickly, worried about why the doctors want to move this along so quickly (isn’t that a sign that they think it might be something really severe?)

At some point in the ER I ripped a hole in the stress ball. I tend to pick at things like that so I went out today and got two new ones and had people suggest faces for the new mr. squishys. Now one of them is tragedy and comedy, one is a caricature of a friend. I think I might get quite a few more of them and see how many faces I can come up with, or have friends make faces for them. You gotta laugh right? Can’t take everything dead seriously or you’ll end up miserable. If you can’t laugh, why live is how I see it.

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6 Comments
  1. Krausie permalink

    *BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG HUGS* Read all the entries, and the desire to give you a huge hug grew each second! Wish I was there to let you squeeze my hand instead*! Good luck sweetie!

    *instead of squeezing my ball! (sorry, couldn’t resist!)

    • Hahaha, very nice and thank you very much. That comment is even better if you consider that horrible, inappropriate joke I made about the tremors during our last conversation 😉 lol
      And for the record I’m pretty happy with how your caricature ball turned out 😛

  2. Krausie permalink

    Your art skills continue to impress me 😉 and yes, that joke was great hehehe

    Proof that we need to have more convos, yes!

  3. Aww you’re a suck. Heh ya I did like that joke, was quite proud of it actually and if I wasn’t keeping this blog PG, I would post it 😛
    We do need to have more convos, and more importantly more recording! What do you think of Standing In The Rain?

  4. Krausie permalink

    Never got to that track! I shall listen to it! I recorded a looping bit for Black Black Heart already, but haven’t added anything to it. Shall check out Standing in the Rain

    • beautiful, I’m in the mood for some vocal stuff 🙂 Will do a few takes of BBH tonight and maybe do some keyboard stuff. just having some noms and i’ll hop on MSN to get those tracks from you

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