Three A.M. I am sitting on the floor beside the bed unable to move after trying to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. It is undeniable. My right side is paralyzed from the waist down and my right arm is weak.
My husband Mark is there immediately, trying to move my right foot, crumpled against a chest of drawers. I cry out in pain. He tries to help me move but I seem cemented to the floor. Mark gives me a pain pill and the next hours are a blur.
Ambulance, ER, CAT scan, x-rays of chest, hip, knee. Repeatedly I am asked the same questions. Does it feel like my previous stroke? Have I fallen recently? Do I use a walker? A cane? No and no and no and no. Last week I was camping with my family at the coast.
After a few hours the ER physician gives up and sends me to be admitted to the hospital. Muscle spasms or twitches start in my right leg, making it clutch from toe to knee to toe every five to ten seconds all day and night. My primary doctor isn’t available so after a few hours I’m seen by a Hospitalist, a growing trend, it seems. She is a tiny Oriental lady who grabs my sensitive ankle, yanks my leg around grinding my arthritic knee, making me cry out.
“Are you an anxious person?” she asks. “Do you take a pill for anxiety?” No and no.
I complain of the spasms. She orders a prescription and an MRI. The medicine takes over an hour to take effect, lasts for about three hours, and can only be administered every eight hours. That leaves over six hours of constant spasms. I tell myself they are a sign of nerve regeneration, but no one tells me any such thing.
My roommate has an MRI after mine and soon sees her doctor and then a specialist. I don’t see the Hospitalist until the next afternoon. The MRI shows some arthritis of the spine. No explanation of how that could cause sudden paralysis.
The spasms make my right leg creep slowly toward the edge till my foot falls over. I learn to shove my left toes under my right ankle and pry my foot back onto the bed. With great effort, by the third morning, I can bend my right knee and twitch my big toe. Progress!
The Hospitalist comes in about 3 P.M. to say I’m released. What? I have walked once outside the room, I have no diagnosis, no treatment plan except to see my primary physician in a week, no wheelchair, no walker. Not that I’m fond of the hospital, but we have good insurance and I expected not to be virtually bedfast when I go home. Before I can call him, Mark arrives with a lovely blue orchid and my Surface computer. He has driven the pickup, so must turn around and drive home to get the car.
Once again I must quit. I make mistakes in nearly every word. Part III coming soon.