There’s nothing like an ER visit to put life back in perspective. Armed with a faithful husband and a sense of humor to take the edge off the worst, I wobbled into the closest hospital’s Emergency entrance last night.
The symptoms, by my estimation, had come on mid-morning. Numbness on one side of the face, shaky left leg, dizziness. I shook off concerns and stayed in my cubicle all day, and then (typical teacher) called the doctor when I got home. The nurse on call said, “ER. Definitely. Do you have someone who can drive you? Soon?” Well, yes. Chuck was pulling in the driveway moments after the call.
While the nurse was getting me wired up to the beeping and blinking equipment, she asked basic questions. “What’s your name? Do you know where you are? Do you know why you’re here? What month is it?” Was that a trick question, we asked? It was November 1st. We told everyone who treated me about my hearing impairment, and they all handled it professionally. Well, mostly professionally. This is the first time anyone has called my hearing aids “cute.”
So – I was exhausted. Chuck pointed out that I’d been fading since earlier in the week. I’d been tired, very tired, but chalked it up to stress. Campaign stress, election fears, work stress due to state testing – you name it, I’ve felt it. No, he told me, it was more than usual.
CAT scan was an odd experience – my first. Hold still? No problem. Let me doze off and we’ll all be happy. Results were normal, so ER doc talked to the neurologist on call and ordered an MRI. We got lucky with timing; the MRI tech was in house due to routine equipment testing, so they took me almost immediately. Here again, lying still was no problem. “Can I take a nap?” They thought I was kidding.
MRIs are loud, though, even to one like me. With my hearing aids out and earplugs in, the rhythms and changing tones kept me awake. Has any composer written an atonal piece based on MRI sounds? If it hasn’t been done, some talented and creative musician needs to write it.
Ultimately, all life-threatening possibilities were ruled out. No stroke or TIA, no blood clots or bleeding in the brain. My orders included an anti-dizziness medication, a day of rest instead of school, and two follow up visits: one to my family doc, and one to a neurologist.
So here I am, resting on my couch, watching MSNBC and promising myself that I’ll turn it off if bad news or campaign news becomes upsetting. I dropped a note to friends and family on Facebook and emailed my bosses and secretary after I put in for my sick day. Petunia, good mother that she is, picked up my prescription and promised to drive me to the family doc. La Petite checked in within minutes of my online update. It’s the opposite of the sandwich generation; this time, mother and daughter are taking care of the one in the middle: me.
Meanwhile, I still have that post-dental work feeling in one side of my face, and I still wobble on my left leg. I’m leaning left now literally as well as politically. As long as I do this Weeble style and wobble but avoid falling down, I can move on.
And if my blog posts sound one-sided, you know there’s yet another reason for that point of view.