Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dear November 18th

Dear November 18th,

I love you. You're MY day. (Mine! All mine, dammit!). That's right - I own you. Why? Because you are the anniversary of my own personal major (MAJOR) medical miracle and of my becoming Neurology's own personal Wonder Woman - minus the itchy-looking American flag bathing suit thingy and those red hooker boots. Of course. (Insert The Wonder Woman TV Show Theme Song here). (And dance around to it if you wanna).

Four years ago today, I bitch slapped Paralysis (*KAPOW!*) and gave Death a big ol' atomic wedgie (*YOW!*).

And it was AWESOME!

Here's how it went down:

I collapsed in my hallway. Not good. (And, no, I hadn't been drinking!). I couldn't move my legs and my nerves felt like they were being electrocuted. Not fun. And very (VERY) painful. Think Rhonda when she collapses in Muriel's Wedding. It was a lot like that. Only without the Navy orgy. Unfortunately. Kidding! (Kinda).

I was rushed to the ER where I spent the day deteriorating quickly and baffling doctor after doctor after doctor. No-one knew what was going on. I think they were actually more scared than I was.

Ever scared a bunch of ER doctors with a freaky, unknown, mysterious ailment?

Yeah, don't. It's not fun.

They advised me to write a will on whatever I could find in my purse - the checkbook, tissues, maxi pads, whatever. (Seriously. If I'd died, I would have sooooo come back as a ghost just simply to get to watch my Maxi Pad Will being read!!). (Hee hee!). (Actually, no, it didn't come to that - my Mom brought me paper. Thanks Mom).

They made the Chaplain hang out with me. He was pretty cool. We discussed death (his contribution) and Mounds Bars, cookies and brownies (my contribution - because, hey, they wouldn't let me eat anything in there all day and I was STARVING!). I tried to beg and bribe him into getting me something (ANYTHING) from the vending machine in the lobby, but all he would give me were old Field and Stream Magazines. And, damn, if those fishy pages didn't start looking mighty tasty after about six freaking hours or so!!

No food + frightened and confused ER doctors + hours and hours of nothing to do but worry and suffer in pain = an UN-FUN DAY. Trust me on that.

But (sigh) then *HE* arrived on the scene, bursting through my ER curtain like Tigger on a sugar high; looking like there was nowhere else he would rather be; strutting around the room; making all the other doctors there gaze at him in silent awe; grinning like the Cheshire Cat; cracking jokes; making me laugh; looking sexy; making dares with me; and making me KNOW I was finally in capable hands: Dr. Sexy Neurologist.


My fear? Gone.

My boredom? Gone.

My hunger (for food at least)? Gone.

My Field and Stream Magazines? Gone. ('Cuz he ordered the nurse to bring me better magazines!). ('Cuz he's Superman).

He took over. He ran tests. He assured me he would figure my symptoms out. He made me totally want to ask him out, but (bummerifically sad sigh) I didn't. It would have been wrong to, okay? Just wrong. I'm pretty sure I read that in a fortune cookie once: Confucius say, "Paralyzed girl in hospital bed does well not to hit on sexy Neurologist, lest she be taken as an unrealistic hobag by Dr. Sexy. Duh." (It was a big fortune cookie, okay?!)


Dr. Sexy Neurologist found the problem: a golf ball-sized blood clot in my spinal cord. Eww. It had ruptured and was bleeding, destroying my spinal cord and nerves, and preventing my brain and body from communicating with each other. Ewwwww.

The more it bled, the worse my symptoms got.

By the time the blood clot was discovered, I couldn't move my legs at all, I was having trouble moving my arms, I was shaking like I was having a seizure, and I could no longer sit or roll over (Sorry, Porno for Pyros, I woulda made one crappy-ass pet!).

Everyone was talking to me in hushed voices. They told me I was going to bleed to death without surgery, and that with surgery there were two possible outcomes: death or total paralysis (think Christopher Reeve). OMG.

I had to say goodbye to everyone. I had to say goodbye to my daughter and hug her for what was likely the very last time ever. I can't even begin to describe how hard that was. What do you say to an eight year old? I honestly don't even remember what I said, just that I managed somehow not to cry because I didn't want her last memory of me to be me bawling!

I had to go into surgery knowing I'd either come out in a wheelchair or a casket.

But.... No.

No-one can explain to me why or how, but I escaped paralysis completely. (Yeah, and death too, for any clowns who are wondering). By all neurological rules, that's impossible. But it happened.

The doctors still shake their heads in confused amazement whenever they see me. I'm their Wonder Woman, like I said. (Insert theme music here once more). (And rock out!)

Not that there wasn't damage. I had to live in the hospital for awhile, where my world was a cocktail of pain meds, physical therapy, bad TV, and bizarre scenarios - like showering with the hospital nurses!: Zibbs, this confession is for you, as I promised: I was buck naked (intrigued?), sitting on a chair in the shower, being soaped up by the nurses (good so far?) since I was still having trouble moving my arms and couldn't do it myself (I swear!).

The first time we did this, I looked down through all the bubbles and made a joke about turning into a werewolf because I hadn't been able to shave my legs or, umm, other areas (still with me, Zibbs?) in awhile. The ridiculousness of the situation hit me and I started laughing. I'm a laughter. I can't help it. And it's contagious. The nurse in the water with me started laughing too. And we couldn't stop. It was a shower full of bubbles, steam, giggles and skin (picturing it okay, Zibbs?).

And then it got better.

Oh yes.

There was a knock at the door.

I kid you not.

It was the cute daytime-duty doctor (aka Dr. Flirty) checking to see if we were okay because of all the noises he could hear through the door. I swear this is true. I said, "Oh my God, we're in a cheesy porno!" and the nurse and I looked at each other as she was rinsing the soap from my shoulders (happy, Zibbs?) and we started laughing again so hard that we were crying! Dr. Flirty left at that point (ahh, sorry, Zibbs. Disappointing, I know!), but I'm pretty sure he wished he hadn't. The next morning he came into my room, sat on my bed (mm-hmm) and told me I could have anything I wanted for breakfast, whether it was on the menu or not.

Oh yeah, Dr. Flirty?!

I said I wanted "the world's biggest piece of chocolate cake." And that is exactly what he brought me. It was like the size of a shoebox!! Hmmm.... And here I thought doctors had better things to do than sit on my bed and hand-deliver me cake! Go figure.

(Satisfied, Zibbs?! Cool. Now you can go back to ignoring me and my little blog as usual. I'm gonna go check out your other readers. I hear at least one of 'em wants my number. (wink wink). (And P.S., Zibbs - I want my panties back when you're done with them). (Actually on second thought, never mind, keep 'em).

Anyway, back on track:

I spent months in physical therapy with a big metal walker, re-learning how to do everything: walk, get in and out of a chair, get dressed, tie my shoes, etc.

I had to have a constant babysitter. (Thank you to my mom, dad, daughter, brother, sister, brother-in-law, brother-in-law's mom, Callista, and Callista's mom for that! I owe you one). (Or one freaking million!).

It's been four years today. And I'm doing great.

I'm walking, working, driving, and everything again. Even showering by myself. (Sorry, Zibbs).

Is there lasting damage? You bet! But it's not all bad.

The cons:

*I have tingling numbness on one-half of my body from the armpit down.

*My right elbow has major nerve damage so it hurts like hell whenever anything touches it. Anything. Sleeves are my mortal enemy and the bane of my existence! If I could be a nudist, I totally would!

*I walk with a sway like a drunk. Oh well. People think I'm having fun anyway!

The pros:

*I still get to see Dr. Sexy Neurologist. :-)

*I have a ready-made excuse to get me out of anything stupid that people want me to do: "Oh, sorry. Can't. I'm a gimp."

*I didn't lose my Twister Skillz!! I'm still Twister Champ!! (Don't mess with me!!)

*I've been on my deathbed. I know without a doubt what is important to me. And what is not.

So, yep, today is MY day.


And my to-do list today? Ah, let's see:

*Take the day off of work. (check!)

*Eat pecan pie for breakfast. (check!)

*Mock Death with the help of Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey ("Melvin!") (check!)

*Anything else I freaking decide I wanna do!! (checkaroo!)



Neurology's Wonder Woman,