Time's up! Now get out! Don't let the door hit ya on the way out! I'd never been discharged from a hospital as fast as I had that hazy Friday afternoon. Sure check-in had been smooth and efficient, but check-out seemed hasty. Can she walk? K. Great, buh-bye! Rushed at best, I would usher no complaints, as heading home had always been my favorite part of any hospital hoop-lah.
Still, I couldn't help but wonder if the expedited nature of my departure was due in part to the honest opinion I had shared with one of my nurses. My post-op nurse (named improperly as this procedure in no way warrants being labeled an operation) finally broke down and asked me what symptoms outside of my MS had brought me to this doc and this test. Huh? Was that part of the recovery protocol? Surely not . . .
"Well," I responded, "I'm glad you asked!" I could feel my husband glaring at me from across the room. He began to approach with a masculine protectiveness as if offended she had asked me such a thing. I dismissed his reflex to shield his wife and ignored his desire to tackle the question himself. Surely, as the procedure was complete and results already reported, any venom that may spew from my mouth at this point wouldn't affect the day's outcome.
Mine and Jason's somewhat telepathic prelude to an answer left just enough silence in the air to warrant further explanation from said nurse regarding her initial inquiry. She continued explaining her husband had MS for nearly 20 years. And that before it got too bad for him to work he had been a doctor. Literally unable to contain myself, I interrupted asking, " . . . and he hasn't heard of CCSVI?"
She replied that if there was anything to it that she was sure he had. Puzzled, I interrupted again, asking, " . . . and he hasn't had this done to test for it?"
"Well, no," she went on, declaring, "He's well into his 60s. He walks o.k. with crutches." As if that mattered?! There's a simple procedure that could give him his life back. He can't enjoy struggling with crutches. He can't enjoy being tired all the time. He can't enjoy what's left of his life wondering what was gonna malfunction next. This was aggravating - to say the least. Wouldn't the 20 or more years left of his life be of better quality with cleared, free-flowing veins?
As I pondered all these questions and pictured this poor, feeble man locked in his wife's basement waiting for his daily rationing of table scraps, I shuttered. Could it be he has only a 5 gallon bucket to void in and a concrete floor to rest on ---- this horrific picture, sent chills down my spine. A bit far-fetched, I suppose, but a disgust for this nurse's acceptance of ignorance was raising the temperature in the room. I could feel my cheeks swell with red. Had I been on my 'A' game - I would have let this lady have it.
My blood pressure had been high but was acceptable. Her work for now had been done. And without my ever really answering her initial question . . . she announced she'd be back soon. Good. I needed to organize my thoughts. I would take this time to cool down, as heat is not my friend. And I would muster up my best, most eloquent plea as to why she ought to look into this wacky vascular idea. I would eagerly await her return.
She'd made it to the threshold of the door to turn and advise, "Hon, don't be down. If there was really anything to this we'd be all over it." (PAUSE) Great, I'd thought, she was trying to comfort me as every good nurse would before leaving a patient's room. And don't get me wrong. She had been a really good nurse -- that is, up until now! Then as if to herself, as if to further her misdirected point, she asked somewhat rhetorically, "Why don't you think its not all over the media and being done everywhere?"
"Honestly," I answered loudly causing her to change direction even though she'd been well on her way out, "do you want my honest opinion?" I'm not sure how or if she even answered and I didn't much care as I was about to come undone. Seeing her re-approach my bed, I continued, "I think alot of it has to do with neurologists and big pharma not wanting to lose out on all the money we MSers continue to just hand them over!"
Silence followed. So much so I could hear a fellow patients heart monitor beeping two doors down. The soothing symphony of beeps and dings was eventually interrupted by my husband exhaling. As long as he must of been holding his breath he's lucky he hadn't passed out. Taking in a deep breath of my own I couldn't help but trudge forward and take advantage of my captive audience. It's not all that often you are given the chance to speak frankly with anyone in the healthcare profession - let alone one with a close personal connection to MS. I continued, "Proof is out there that if this is found, fixing it alleviates symptoms - some of them immediately . . ."
I was just getting wound up when this time she interrupted me, proclaiming, "Loss of MS patients would not affect neurologists. There are plenty of other disorders to keep them in business." And with that she exited. With that she rushed away before I could switch into low gear and come at her with a rebuttal. Now get this . . . she NEVER came back. Had her shift been over? Or had I left her perplexed and bewildered? I hadn't intended on frazzling her, even if she really did have her husband shackled to a wall at home.
As the afternoon progressed, I learned my father-in-law had also given her a piece of his mind. Returning from lunch he proudly told us he'd come across someone who's husband had MS. And that he told her all about CCSVI. He just couldn't believe how disinterested she'd seemed. Ha! My first chuckle since the crappy news. I burst his bubble telling him we too had came across this gem and that she was due back soon to check my vitals.
Oh, well. Can't win 'em all. But to say you fought 'em all - now that's somethin'. The nurse that had prepped me was now the one to discharge me. She was nice too, but niether of us opted to talk about anything but the weather. The trip home seemed unusually long. Jason called my mom to tell her we were on our way. I didn't 'cause I just wasn't ready. She gets emotional. Then I get emotional. And I had cried enough already. Truth be told, I was probably more sore from weeping than from the procedure itself.
Upon arriving home, I discovered I'd need as much energy as I could muster to fight back tears of overwhelming disappointment and harder yet, to somehow or another dig deep enough to find a smile. No question, the toughest part of my day was yet to come. The walk from the truck to the porch? No. From the foyer to the living room couch? Difficult, but no.
I rounded the hallway corner to find my boys nearly fresh off the bus, playing on the laptop together. What was this? They were getting along? I had to be dreaming. Or maybe I was in the wrong house. As I took a moment to watch them -- my everythings, my reasons for taking my next breath -- a lump began to form in my throat. As prepared as I had been, having rehearsed many potential scenarios, once I saw the excitement in their eyes, I struggled to breath let alone come up with anything to say.
Once they spotted me they bolted across the room. "I missed you Mommy," Asa said after a hug. And Abel with his eyes so wide and bright, stood back after he'd kissed me, just far enough as if in anticipation that I might break out into a cartwheel. Then he asks, "Did you get liberated?" Dang! I knew that had been coming. I look away from him over to Asa in hopes of gaining some composure. No such luck. He was no help, as he too stood there all starry eyed awaiting my response. Wise beyond his years, he even smiled and nodded as if to grant me permission or instill in me the confidence I now so desperately needed.
I LOVE THESE GOOFY GOOBERS!!! I swallow hard and answer, "Not yet dudes, but I will!" At this very moment my chest ached with heart break and my stomach churned with toxic disappointment. Recognizing these ailments as severely contagious, I fought to bury them deep and continued, "I was only in the hospital today so they could look around . . ." NO RESPONSE, so I followed with, "So how did school go and what are we gonna do this weekend?" Normalcy. Nice. I pray I can maintain it.
Off to bed early, I finally called my Mom to say goodnight. I waited 'til I was alone expecting there to be at least a few more tears shed. To my delightful suprise my wells must have ran dry. Or maybe my renewed hope had built a fortress. At our conversations end I felt driven - like I had been Lou Holtz giving his fighting Irish a pep talk that would have driven Notre Dame to beat any NFL franchise. I was pumped. More now than before, if that was even possible.
I had blogging to do and research to ummm, well, research. And, what's this? Amelia called to tell me she was sorry, but that she'd talked to mom and it had sounded like all this had done was fire me up. So true. I dare ya to tell me I can't do something. By God, then I'll do it twice. Maybe this had been just what I needed. If thru this I can get this maverick doc properly schooled in CCSVI, then there'll soon be a super doc added to the mid-west. Whatever comes from this -- IT"S GONNA BE POSITIVE! Baby sis always did have a way with fueling fires. Pyro!
And she wasn't through. "And I wanted to tell you that your 4 year old niece is going to show her new pony all by herself tomorrow," Amelia continued. "But don't worry, we'll tape it so you can see her." Yeah, right, I'd thought at the time. If I could walk tomorrow. I wasn't gonna miss this. We talked for a while which was nice. We're both so busy with our own lifes that we don't get the chance too often to really talk.
We shared old showing memories and hopes of making future ones. I shared in and tried to soothe her nerves about her daughter's first show in a class on her own. Truth be told Amelia, I might have been just as nervous as you. She'll be fine! We always were - well, mostly. And as I could hear her littlest man getting fussy in the background I said, "I love you. G'night" knowing full well she probably wouldn't sleep a wink!
I soon learnedthat I wouldn't either. Was it the adrenaline or the dye driving me batty? An itchy night of countless trips to the commode commenced. Thank you God that my bathroom is so very near my bed. And thank you God for Benadryl. And thank you God for my wonderful husband Jason who went all the way downstairs to fetch them for me. Many have commented that this journey has been a rollercoaster ride. And today it truly had been. On that table, in that room, the range of emotions I'd gone thru was catastrophic.
I once stood in line over an hour with my cousin to ride Opryland's Cannonball rollercoaster. It had two upside down loops in it and I was barely tall enough to ride. We were the next to board and I remember tearing through the line of people behind us to get back to my mom and dad. Boy, Larry was pissed! But a little encouragement mixed with a few threats and a bribe or two of icecream later, we made our way back towards the front of the line. Some nice man having seen me bolt offered to let us back in ahead of him. Yeah! Great. Thanks, fella.
Where in the world is she going with that silly story? Stay tuned, dear readers. How dare you doubt me! So we ride it. HARD! And as soon as we're off I'm pulling on his shirt wanting to get back in line. Again! Again! The wait, the fear, the bolt, the fight, the ride - it had all been worth it to me. And the wait for this? No matter how long, or how many distractions, how many arguments for or against, I want this and, I WILL GET ON THAT RIDE!
It's getting late y'all and I have flying monkeys to hunt down and massacre tomorrow. I'll continue next time with "Throwdown At The Fairgrounds!" Intrigued? Well, ya should be. I damn near got in a fight. Until then, sweet dreams all!