The week I wound up in the hospital began on a Sunday when we went to a friend’s house for an afternoon gathering and I was so weak I sat the whole time, which isn’t like me.
As the week progressed, I regressed to the point where I was having trouble walking and putting on clothes. But there were no other flu symptoms. Not the flu.
Went to my usual doctor on Wednesday. I complained about the recent spill I had taken on a muddy sidewalk, because we thought it might be related.
On Thursday I had what will henceforth be known as The Big Fall. To the ER we went.
Of course, you have to list practically your entire medical history for these things. And anything that might be connected to the condition, however tenuous.
So began the Why is Jenn Messed Up Theory Free-for-all.
From my mother: It was all that neck and back and joint popping. I told her to stop doing that. (Diagnosis #3)
From Nick: You know, she’s been slathering on that new Bath & Body Works stuff like there’s no tomorrow. What if it seeped into her skin and she’s having an allergic reaction to it? (Diagnosis #4)
A side note: The Lemon Vanilla summer scent is sooooo yummy. I wanted to eat my arms it smells so good. Please, B&B Works, keep it around!
From my mother: Epilepsy-related. (I had it when I was younger after an accident, but had “grown out of it.”) (Diagnosis #5)
From me: As a flexitarian, maybe I’m not getting enough protein in my diet. Nor do I eat enough bananas for potasssium. (Diagnosis #6)
From the hospital neurologist: It could be MS, but it could also be West Nile (Diagnosis #7) or a host of other things. We have to do lots and lots of tests, including a spinal tap (Ack! This deserves a post unto itself.).
Except for him were all pretty tied to our particular theories. Nevermind that earlier in the summer, I had gone through a 4-week period of optic neuritis. In about half of the cases, it’s the first sign of multiple sclerosis.
I think we might have been in denial.
Diagnosing multiple sclerosis isn’t easy. For some people, it can take years because symptoms are so random and come and go. And there’s no definitive “You have MS” test. Essentially, doctors have to rule out a lot of other things before coming to the MS conclusion.
It took a summer for my diagnosis, and for that I am forever grateful. A quicker diagnosis means treatment begins earlier.
Although when I think back, there are little health issues here and there over the past five years that were so transient and seemed so minor that I never told them to anyone, but that now make sense in the bigger picture. Those include quick little electric pulses when I was in a certain position, darkening of vision and muscle stiffness at odd times.
So here’s my little bit of advocacy: There’s nothing too small to discuss with your doctor. Don’t go Google crazy with symptoms. You’ll only scare yourself.
Which reminds me of Diagnosis #8: Brain tumor. (I didn’t link this one for a reason.)