You know, sometimes you just need to get away from it all. Answer your impulsive side, stir things up a bit, be spontaneous. Right about the time I was thinking I could use a little break, a brief vacation just to regroup and catch my breath, I got the reprieve I was imagining...just not quite in the way I had fantasized.
I woke up Monday morning, got out of bed and promptly found myself up and close and personal with the carpet in my room, narrowly missing the treat of giving myself a concussion by knocking my head square on the bedside table. What the hell? I stood back up only to fall promptly right back down on my ass. It was at that point that I realized I had no feeling whatsoever in my right leg or foot. Completely numb. The leg just wasn't there. I sat there waiting to get the feeling back and anticipating the pins and needles sensation that comes when a body part has fallen asleep and you begin to resume feeling... notta, nothing, no go.
After about a minute or so, I got up the courage to try again, but this time, supported all my weight on my left side until I felt confident enough to attempt walking again. It was fine. I went on through the day as if nothing had happened with only a sore right leg as a reminder.
Later that evening, while sitting on the sofa reading, I had the sensation that my right leg and foot were falling asleep...worried, but hoping it would just go away, I went to bed. I tossed and turned for a good two hours, replaying the days events and the possible causes... I kept coming back to one place:
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a transient stroke that lasts only a few minutes. It occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is briefly interrupted. TIA symptoms, which usually occur suddenly, are similar to those of stroke but do not last as long. Most symptoms of a TIA disappear within an hour, although they may persist for up to 24 hours. Symptoms can include: numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body; confusion or difficulty in talking or understanding speech; trouble seeing in one or both eyes; and difficulty with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination
I am not one to be fatalistic. I have been a patient in the hospital exactly four times in my 37 years:
On my birthday
Stitching up a split skull
My medicine cabinet boasts a bottle of Tylenol and some band-aids. That's it. The only doctor I visit on a routine basis is that one... and that's only because I just can't pass up an opportunity to ride the steel pony. Good times, there.
Anyway, the point being that I usually just wait for things to go away or to allow my body to work its kinks out rather than consulting a physician. So, even with the nagging feeling, I went to bed Monday night, slept fitfully and woke up Tuesday morning to find that my right arm and hand were numb.
I gingerly got out of bed, fully expecting a repeat episode of the morning before, but found that I could walk and my leg was just sore. I paged my physician and gave her the run down after which she advised me to skip a visit to her office and to instead go straight to the emergency room. But, but... I have four classes today, two writing assignments to turn in, and a spanish exam to study for.
After dropping the girls off at school ( I know, I know) I drove myself to the ER. This would be the part where I tried not to cry. There are many, many things I love about being single, but there is nothing worse than the realization that you are all alone when dealing with something particularly scary or painful (or even worse, you have to chop your own onions and garlic while cooking or kill a gigantious insect.)
I arrived at the ER at 8:30AM and was subjected to a CT scan, an EKG, a chest x-ray, a chest scan and finally a MRI. All the while, I'm looking at my watch and hoping that they can rule out anything serious, sending me on my merry way in time to make my last two classes and to pick up the girls from school. Around 1:00, the doctor came back with the results of my tests which not only revealed that I had a brain but that it was in perfect working order as well. I know, I'm just as surprised as you are. Even with that being the case, she did not feel comfortable sending me home and informed me that she would be admitting me and that I would spend the night in order to meet with the neurologist in the morning.
Ummm, wait just a minute. I'm a single mother with a kindergartener. Could I leave and come back? To make arrangements for someone (WHO?? As her dad is out of town) to take care of her for the night and get her to school in the morning?
No, sorry. Isn't there another family member who can pick her up from school?
Her dad is out of town.
Who would we contact in case of an emergency?
My ex husband
I thought you just said he was out of town....
That would be my second ex husband....my first is close by ( I love moments like this, class all the way, baby)
Just at that moment, my darling Kaleigh came walking into the room, dragging her dad behind her. She had overheard my telephone conversation that morning and insisted that her dad come looking for me. He lectured me for not calling him sooner and then assured me that he would take care of picking up Jordan from school and that she could spend the night with them. About a half hour later, his wife came in and hugged me, telling me not to worry, that they would take care of the girls and asked me to make a list of things I needed from home and to give her his phone number. She returned an hour later with a bag she had packed for me, my text books, my pillow and my little girl.
Do I really need to tell you how often I count my blessings?
Jordan wanted to know if any of the wires hurt, what they were for and what was for dinner. She also needed to inform me that she learned how to say happy and sad in Spanish and that a boy in her class was chewing with his mouth open at lunch. Seemingly undaunted, she gave me a big hug and a kiss and off she went with her big sister and family to dinner and a sleepover.
So, after sitting in the ER since 8:30 that morning, I was finally wheeled up to my room at 5:30PM where I just had time to get tucked into my bed, artfully arrange my wires ( I looked like quite the little science project) and take stock of my luxury accomodations when my phone rang and he called to tell me he loved me, not to worry, made me giggle like a schoolgirl, told me he knew everything was going to be fine, to get some rest and promised to call later and check on me. Yeah, I think he likes me a little.
Has anyone actually ever rested in a hospital? I think I slept two consecutive hours when I wasn't being poked, prodded, or asked the same series of questions. My roommate had some ailment that required her to cough up phlegm on an hourly basis and deposit it in a cup for the nurses to examine. She was also a huge fan of Cops, Montel Williams, The Price Is Right and Judge Joe Brown.
I'll be damned if they didn't come and get me for my ultrasound and sonogram during the showcase showdown.
Son of a Bitch.
Once I was deposited back to my room, the neurologist paid me a visit and asked me to tell him the same exact story that I had already recounted no less than 15 times since I had arrived at the hospital. And the thing is, each and every time I told someone new, they wrote it down. Why not read it on the chart, people? Were they just checking for inconsistencies in my story or what?
I half-jokingly told him that my boyfriend thought my body was just acting out in response to the stress I had been dealing with of late.
Stress? Are you stressed? Give it to me. What are the top three stressors in your life right now.
I proceeded to tell him x, y and z, wherein the narration revealed two ex-husbands and a boyfriend who lives 900 miles away.
Two ex husbands? You go, Elizabeth Taylor.
He did another exam and we talked for a bit,
You don't drink?
You don't smoke?
You don't do cocaine?
(hmmm... no wonder I'm stressed. Perhaps I need a vice?)
and he bowed to my pleas to free me...let me go home, please!
I was sent home with the order to take a baby aspirin a day and follow up with an appointment two weeks from now.
Moral of the story? Be careful what you wish for.