2008 Rehash

  • Jan-Feb 08: Joined Weight Watchers, thinking that weight must be everything that’s wrong with me.
  • Late June 08: Lost 50lbs and was feeling great internally, but had not noticed a decrease in clumsiness. Fell twice (for no reason, outside in the brush of a downed tree) in an hour’s span one weekend; after one fall, I couldn’t make my body get back up.
  • July 08: I shrugged even those falls off, as had been my habit over the last several years. With my partner out of town, I decided to take it upon myself to “tidy” the front yard. I was alarmed that my wielding of the weed-eater caused it to lose it’s spool within the first three minutes of use, but I decided that breaking the weed eater just meant moving on to the lawn. On lawn-strip #2, I fell, still clutching the still-trying-to-accelerate mower and determined not to let it cut off. I used it to steady myself, but upon moving forward noticed that I couldn’t see where I was mowing. In fact, I couldn’t see my own front door just ten feet from it. The “normal” dizziness to which I was accustomed had increased severely. The tears started when I tried to get the mower back into the garage, but could not see the places where things usually sat collecting dust. I made it inside, and thought, “Well, I can’t leave the lawn like that! I need to find a cheap lawn service to get out here before my wife gets home!” Trying to browse Craigslist while unable to read the browser’s text finally broke the tears into sobs; I called Q to leave her a voicemail about the lawn, and my apologies for the way it looked, and that I was scared. Then, like every good adult does in a moment of crisis, I called my mom. Mom’s a veteran RN, and ordered me to call 911 immediately. Between my fear, and her fear-reaffirming tone of voice, I dialed. I remained on the phone with the operator until help arrived, trying to follow instructions like “put the dog in a room” and “have all of your prescriptions ready.” First the fire engine came, then the ambulance. I apologized over and over to the Paramedics — my oldest brother is a Paramedic and I knew a lot of the calls they get are bogus wastes of time; I didn’t want them to think I was another. While the Paramedics checked my vitals and assured me that everything was fine, I thought “well, there I go again being crazy!” My vitals were fine, I wasn’t dying, and my vision was starting to come back in; I refused transport to the hospital. Monday, my Primary Care Physician’s triage nurse listened to my weekend affairs and said, “Those are not symptoms we can treat here. I am calling ahead to [—] Hospital’s Emergency Room.” This story could go on ad infinitum with details, but let me thusly summarize July 08:
  • July 08: Hospitalized after MRI results showed over 40 lesions indicative of demyelinating processes. Lumbar puncture showed telltale oligoclonal banding, and I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Received three days of inpatient IV-SM, and a referral.
  • August 08: Saw my hospital-appointed Neurologist, started subcutaneous injections of Betaseron every 48 hours.
  • September 08: Began having adverse side effects as I titrated the Betaseron. When I lost my sight at work (graphic designer), I figured out how to apply for FMLA and short-term disability. Had medically reprehensible care from my Neurologist, and found that Charlotte has a specific MS Center. Three days of outpatient IV-SM. Turned 28.
  • October 08: Got a new Neurologist at the MS Center, returned to work having finished titration and assumed life could return to its regularly scheduled programming. Started cooling therapy (Oh, how I love you frozen cervical collar!) and continuing textbook-perfect injections.
  • November 08: Got a cold. Temperature went up to 99.9, and my entire body essentially became unusable. Thankfully, it was in an early weekend of the month and I went right back to work on Monday. Applying for SSDI was out of the question — I hadn’t paid into it long enough for the stipend to cover life’s expenses. I had to keep working, despite increasing difficulties. Besides, we were getting new health coverage for 2009 and it looked 100x better than the current HMO.
  • December 08: Merrily welcomed the cool weather and life’s seeming return to familiar routine. Bought holiday presents, planned the month out through New Years, and was laid off a week before Christmas.
  • Tonight, I plan on both celebrating the year’s gifts, and throwing a few middle fingers at its deficits. Tonight, I will be with my “family of choice,” and we will be celebrating. Happy New Year!

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