Life on the inside, ep. 1

I have no choice but to laugh. Kind of.
So for those just catching up, I took a bit of a turn for the worst earlier this week. I woke up on Thursday to some significant vertigo that was quickly followed up by violent vomiting. 

I heard the MS Club rule book in my head, I forget which rule it is but it states that no new symptom can be attributed to an exacerbation of your disease unless it lasts for more than 24 hours. So I tried to wait it out. This may not have been the best choice. As the day went on I became basically bed-ridden. I couldn’t eat or drink without violently being ill. I called for help. Mostly because I couldn’t feed my cats or scoop their litter because stairs were pretty much out of the question unless I had a straight up death wish. Clearly, my priorities are straight. 

My mom and my sister came to my rescue. It was after a few more hours then watching me lay in bed moaning that we decided to wait it out. My sister came and slept on my couch (where she promptly was set upon by my very many felines who wanted to play with the new girl in town). When I woke up the next morning, I couldn’t quite believe it was possible but I was much worse. No food stayed down. No water even stayed down. After a call to quasi-nice Nurse Carol, we decided a trip to the ER was in order. I couldn’t stand up without vomiting or falling over, so we had to call a freaking ambulance. I mean…good gravy. A freaking ambulance. 

Since then, I’ve determined some important life lessons…

1. Ambulance guys know their shit but the journey getting this less than petite lady person out of the house felt nothing less than death defying. It’s humbling when it takes 5 grown ass men to move your limp self to a gurney. Ego hits! They just keep coming. 

2. The ER via ambulance plan itself was definitely the best option. No problem getting in and situated in my emergency cubby thing. One can’t quite call that a room. It was a cubby. With five other cubbies full of people at least as bad off or worse than me. 

3. The “bed” in the ER cubby was barely a cot made of royal blue rubber. It smelled like a new pool floaty when you take it right out of the package and you need to blow it up? It smelled just like that. It was extremely un-bed-like in any way. 

4. It’s a good thing I had that nice bed because I was to be laying on it for almost 9 hours. Apparently the hospital was “full to the gills” based on many heat related health issues all over town. Yet another reason to love the heat! My sarcasm skills are going to a whole other level around now, in case you were wondering. 

5. Because I’m a woman of a certain age with severe vertigo, they had to rule out stroke. Even though I have MS and it was a pretty good bet what was happening…CYA levels at hospitals are off the hook. So I had several very wild and wooly head manipulations by several different neurologists. Then a CAT scan (another first!). And still not admitted. Back to smelly the blue raft bed. 

6. MRI is scheduled, then, at 9:45pm. That appointment gets rescheduled no less than 5 times because of “lack of proper transportation.” Around 10pm, though, I am joyfully told I’m going up to a super comfy patient room. Finally! Some relief from the blue puffer bed. 

7. Or not. My hospital bed is also covered with the blue pleather-like material covered in a fitted sheet, a definite improvement, but it gets so hot in the night I seriously fear I may self combust in the hospital itself. 

8. I explain to the night nurse that I’ve not had food or water in my system for almost 35 hours and I’m feeling like I need both stat. “Oh…I’m so sorry but you’re on the stroke protocol and that means no food or drink tonight.” What!? I promptly lose my shit. “Call someone,” I all but bellow. “Im dying over here.” She calls. It takes three more calls to find out they’ve made a mistake. They can give me food. 

9. “Food” is a better term for the world’s saddest looking turkey sandwich and a cup of apple sauce. I haven’t eaten apple sauce since I lived at home and my mom made hers from scratch. I scarfed up that nasty purée faster than you could whistle Dixie. That’s how hungry I was. 

10. “New plan! No MRI tonight. But we’re gonna start you on Solumedrol tonight and start the drip at midnight. The neuro thinks this is more likely an exacerbation of your MS.” Omg, ya think?!? So they pump me full of crazy energy drugs at midnight. I asked for a sleeping pill. “Pharmacy never responded.” So yep. I was up pretty much all night obsessing about how horrible my “bed” actually is. 

11. I cannot get out of my bed without help. To pee even. I stand up? I fall over. The night time nurses aids each weigh about 75 pounds soaking wet. “Hold on to us,” they twinkle at me, “We have you.” Um…just. Sigh. 

12. Thursday, the day I took ill as they used to say in old school novels, was to have been a shower day. Chew on that for a moment. I’m officially categorized that thing that my dearly departed husband used to refer to as a “dirt pig.”

13. People keep complimenting my “awesome hair.” I am being punked because I am desperate for a hair cut. My hair is the shape and texture of baby doll hair (see number 11). And because of the Great Bleach Debacle of 2017, my hair is quite literally half dark brown (riddled with gray) and half bright white blonde. It is not nice to punk sick old ladies. 

14. Secret deodorant works for a really long time without reapplying. Pass it on. 

15. Hospitals have these amazing things called “bath wipes.” They are heated. They have soap in them. They require no rinsing. I am planning to steal many of these wondrous things on my way out. I feel I deserve them. Hell. I’ve earned several packs of those wonder wipes. Easily. 

16. Mostly because after my MRI at 8am this morning we’ve generally concluded that I do indeed have a new lesion on my vestibular spine where my spine meets my cerebellum which is where balance is controlled. Hence the general hideousness of the last few days. Hence the IV steroids. HENCE ALL OF IT. 

17. Nuerologist #5 tells me they are going to keep me at least a couple more days. More IV steroids. Then she asks me, “what is your living situation at home.” I didn’t even think before I answered, proudly, “Oh, I live alone.” 

18. WHY DIDN’T I LIE?!? “Oh. Well then. We will have to get you in some PT before we let you leave then. We need to be sure you can handle yourself at home alone.” I mean, if she could see me at home basically every day of my life they may have committed me to inpatient care a real long time ago. FML (to be blunt). Honesty is FOR SURE overrated. 

19. If you’ve ever had IV Solumedrol you know that shit taste it gives you in your mouth. I asked for something to suck on – hard candy, life savers basically anything to cover the horrible metal taste in my mouth. Guess what? Yeh. Exactly. In a hospital where they administer this stuff all of the time, they have nothing. Zero. Nada. 

20. I’m gonna smash that chocolate pudding. Even if it does taste like bad metal. 

In short, I’m gonna get fat on fancy carrots, chocolate pudding and full calorie ginger ale for the next couple of days whilst being held hostage at Allegheny General Hospital. 

The one silver lining? I finally found a Law and Order channel on my tv. It’s not SVU, I couldn’t get that lucky.  But I’m learning to love Jack as ADA again. There really always IS a silver lining. 

(Sarcasm game? ON POINT).

Also for everyone who has reached out in so many ways, thank you. Every single one of you. This would suck even more without you.