Perplexed

After being in the hospital for a few days, my condition had continued to worsen. Not by a lot, but by enough that I needed to be looked at by another specialist, a Neurologist, Dr. Paul Cooper in London. I had previously seen him years before for my migraines as he specializes in migraines. The doctors wanted to make sure that I was suffering from a hemiplegic migraine.

Before I knew it I was being packed away and shipped off to London Health Sciences. All the way there, I tried to keep conversation with the nurse and paramedic. Anything to keep what was happening off of my mind. The nurse was getting married the weekend before we were so there were lots of things to talk about with wedding planning. Colours, flowers, invitations, dresses – oh my! I tried to act like I was involved and in tune with the conversation like it was something that I have dreamed about, but at that moment all that I could picture would be my Dad wheeling me down the aisle, my unaffected hand covering my face, tears not of joy but of shame and embarrassment streaming down my face, not wanting people to see me. For some reason, this topic was always the favourite for people to bring up with me. Couldn’t they understand my point of view. Look where I was, what was happening to me. I wanted them to put themselves in my shoes. I didn’t even know if I could walk, what I would look like. This is every bride’s nightmare (among other things). In fact, I didn’t even think this was a factor in my nightmares about the wedding. I always dreamed of someone standing up saying “I object!”, or rain, things so miniscule at this point.

After arriving at my new location, my new home for the time being I was put behind a curtain, a shield, protecting me from the outside world. A Neurology Resident came down to look at me, study me from head to toe to see if I was someone they wanted to take on. I called him Dr. George, partially because talking was hard for me to do and partially because he reminded me of a character off of Greys Anatomy. You know when people are talking with you but thinking ten miles ahead of the conversation. This was the look that he had on his face the whole time. I liked this look. This look meant answers. He asked about my story when my paralysis started happening, what did it feel like, what was the amount that I could move. In between all of this, the whole toddler talk thing really was getting in the way of communicating with people. Slurring and mumbling my words, it sounded like I was drunk all the time. I wasn’t, but I could’ve really used a drink right about then.

After he was finished Dr. George looked at me, focusing on my left hand. I could tell by his furrowed brow he didn’t have answers. “You look perplexed,” I said with a bit of a laugh. If I didn’t make a joke or laugh this was going to keep being real. I have done the tests, the scans and the look overs if these doctors didn’t know what was I going to do. Dr. George laughed and said. “Well.” sighing. “I am going to present this to Dr. Cooper and we will go from there. I will be back.” Dr. Cooper was the head of the team and also was going to help diagnose what was going on.

Dr. Cooper came down with his team to discuss my case. He asked about my story and I went over everything that was and had happened. He then did his own tests. At one point, he lifted up my left arm straight in the air which was dead weight. I could not move it on my own, nor could I control it and he dropped it. What was suppose to happen was that my brain was to signal my left arm (shoulder down to my hand) to control my muscles ensuring that my arm would not drop or fall on the aluminum stretcher side rail or on my face. My cat-like reflexes were supposed to emerge. What actually happened was that my arm fell, elbow hitting the side rail, positioning my hand to hit my face knocking my glasses off. After seeing this, I was to have another MRI and was to move up to the Neurology floor.

The point of this exercise was to see if I was faking this episode. Faking what was actually happening to me. If I was faking my brain would have signalled to control my arm, not letting it get hurt or hit me, reflexes emerging. I could see the rail and know this would hurt my arm and also this is going to hit my face but could not control or stop my arm from moving. It is a natural reaction to stop your arm from doing this, this reaction that I did not or could not produce.

I didn’t know what hurt more, someone thinking that I would fabricate what was happening to me or having to demonstrate an exercise in front people to ensure that I was, in fact, telling the truth. That my face was frozen like this, that I couldn’t move my arm and I couldn’t move my leg. Do you know how hard it was to shower or to dress yourself like this. It wasn’t something that I was doing for attention, for God’s sake it was two months before one of the biggest days of my life. I woke up today with fear, but I wanted to wake up tomorrow with hope.

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