The Diagnosis

diagnosisThe Diagnosis

At the end of the day, a very tall doctor entered the ward and stopped at the end of my bed. A shorter, female doctor, who is a neurologist in training, joined us as well.
“Ma’am, we finally found the cause that explains all of your symptoms,” he said. “You have a blood clot in your brainstem, and that is why we couldn’t find anything on the first scans. You will start receiving medication which will reduce the possibility of a new stroke.”
I did not know how to respond, and it was hard to understand what he was talking about. Talking and listening seemed very tiring these days. Where he was standing felt like a great distance was between us, and I thought his words would become clearer if he would come and sit closer to my head.
“We’ll run some more tests to see where the blood clot came from,” he continued. “We’ll also get some more blood tests and make an heart echo. A physiotherapist will come by to exercise with you, and my cohort here will stop by regularly to check on you” — he nodded toward the female doctor.
I really don’t care anymore. It was a strange world these days, and I could only focus on one thing at a time. Right now that focus was directed toward being extremely tired.


The day the world started to spin…


One day the world started to spin so ferociously that I couldn’t do anything. Just lying down motionless was dreadful, and whenever I changed positions I had to vomit. My husband called the nightshift at the doctor’s office.
“You probably have a cold on your equilibrium organ,” was the diagnosis by phone. “You should buy a medicine against nausea and vomiting, and let it heal naturally.”
Reassured, I thought it would all blow over after a couple of days in bed. The pills helped lessen the vomiting, and slowly the world entered into a manageable spin.
The next evening things went from bad to worse. I felt terrible — worse that I had ever felt before — and we called the doctor’s office again.
“I understand your concern, but it is really something that heals by itself,” I was told. “But if it happens that your face becomes paralyzed, then you should contact us immediately.”
When I had to use the bathroom at 11pm, I noticed I couldn’t move one of my legs. Since a leg is not a face, I didn’t think of calling the doctor. At 4am the next day my left arm stopped moving, too. I was so tired that I fell asleep before acting on it.
When I awoke the next morning, I was really concerned, and we called the doctor again at about 7am. We informed him of the new developments and told him we wanted to see a doctor in person at home as soon as possible.
“The doctor is visiting patients,” was the answer we received. “We’ll make sure you are the next patient in line.”
Hubby decided he could jump into the shower so he would be decent to answer the door when the doctor arrived. Within three minutes of our call, an ambulance showed up. With my husband in the shower unable to hear anything, and the paralyzed wife (me) in bed screaming her lungs out, my left arm and leg refused to allow me to do anything. Hubby came and answered the door with refreshing speed, then I was hooked up to all kinds of medical equipment by the ambulance medical technician.
In the meantime, the fire brigade arrived, and my bedroom was filled with 10 unfamiliar men.
“Ma’am, this is probably the first time you’ve had so many men in your bedroom,” one of the firemen joked. I had to laugh at this surreal situation.
After a short consultation between the medical- and the firemen (out the window? carry down the stairs?), I was carried on the shoulders of the firemen down the stairs and into the waiting ambulance. The neighbors came running out of their houses and said they would take care of the kids, and Hubby followed the ambulance in our own car.