Friday, October 2, 2015

Flash (non-)fiction project via Terrible Minds

March 2010: I was out in the complex putting fliers on doors when I got a call from my neurologist telling me I had to go to the emergency room.

I had to be dreaming. You don’t get a call from someone to tell you that you have to go to the ER, right? You go to the ER because you’re bleeding, vomiting, or otherwise leaking bodily fluids. You generally know you need to go to the ER. You don’t get told by other people, on the phone, unsolicited, that you’re having a medical emergency.

I didn’t know what to say. Branden (and everyone else I knew, including me) was at work. I felt uncomfortable driving myself 30–40 minutes to the hospital, in part because I was shaken up by being told I had to go to the emergency room and also because I’d been having an MS exacerbation that was drastically affecting my balance, vision, and sensory perception.

I don’t remember a lot of what happened. I know I called Branden, and he figured out a ride for me; I know I got back to the office and told Jessica that I had to go to the hospital and could she please tell Shelly for me?

It was not the first time that I’d felt that the expression of my disease was judged inadequate by people who, for some reason, were absolutely sure I was trying to cheat them somehow. After all… who is told that they need to go to the emergency room? I seemed like I was doing just fine, which is what happens when you try to not look like you’re drunk at work; when you try not to complain about the tingling in your hands and feet; when you try to hide the way you sometimes make fists that go all the way up to your shoulder and you can’t release them.

My friend Fletcher drove me to the hospital. I remember hugging Christina before getting in the car to go, but I don’t remember the drive. I remember going to check in to the ER and they asked me what was wrong—there is little that is more awkward than having to say, “I don’t know, my neurologist told me to come.” I remember the quagmire of human misery that surrounded me. The rest is flashes.

I know that I sat there, with Branden and Fletcher, for hours before the neurologist on call came out to talk to me. To this day, I don’t remember what the problem was. Something about the results of my recent MRI. They wanted to check me in overnight, so I told Branden and Fletch to go home. A bare few minutes later, she told me that, in fact, they weren’t going to check me in and I could go. My phone was out of batteries. The neurologist loaned me her phone, and I luckily had Branden’s phone number memorized; if he hadn’t had his phone on him I’d have been SOL, because I’d never bothered to memorize Fletch’s California number. I managed to catch them before they were out of the parking lot. We went and had pizza. I’ve never experienced anything quite so unreal.

Source: Terrible Minds by Chuck Wendig


M T McGuire said...

That's a bizarre story. I think I might have ended up giving my nurologist a chick up the bum for that one!



Mozette said...

Actually, one of my friends had this happen to her too.

She had been in hospital to get her shunt replaced (this is a tube that feeds around the back of your ear and down your neck to relieve pressure on the brain). Well, she had only had it done a few days before and was on her first day outside from ICU; a nurse was with her outside in the park area when an emergency team raced out and grabbed my friend and got her inside, put back under explaining that her last lot of tests came back with something 'abnormal'.

It turned out that the shunt they had put in had stopped working and they had to work fast to make it work again or replace it. She was very lucky - but had to stay in the hospital for longer and was only permitted home with a carer to stay with her until she was reportedly out of danger.

But mainly, anything to do with the brain is really touchy - being a person with Epilepsy, I know it's strange old world out there. One minute I'm okay, the next my doctors are telling me we have to change my medications and my life is all upside down again... Neuro's are weird people - but the study of the Human Brain is most definitely in its infancy.

Mom said...

And yet, here YOU are, strong and powerful. My #1 daughter. Being there for me, taking my breath away, inspiring and making my heart sing. As always. Thank you, thank you. Love you over the moon and on and forever.

Elly Conley said...

Thanks mommy. <3

Tsara Shelton said...

That would certainly be a strange phone call!!

My mom is an international mental health expert (Lynette Louise, The Brain Broad) and I've known her to make similar phone calls, though. Strange as it is when someone knows your brain along with so much more about brains in general, they have a connection to you and your health that is oddly intimate. My mom has saved lives by making phone calls that must have seemed sudden and out of the blue to her clients but were much more involved for her.

Although, without question my mom would have made sure you knew exactly why you were going to the hospital.

Thank-you for sharing this story. It's not every day I get to learn about a person's brain! tee hee!
Huge hugs!!

Elly Conley said...

Yeah, Tsara, it's not that strange for people with diseases like these. It was strange for me at the time, and still would be if it happened again (lucky me), but I imagine for most people it would be like getting a call from a ghost or something. ^_^