Continuing from last time: Part 1
By now, I had been off work for almost four months, waiting on the results of an MRI scan. The whole process from initial symptoms, to diagnosis had so far taken about a year. During that time, I had done something which I promised I would never do, and my wife told me I should not do, which was self diagnose. I had done my degree in anatomy and physiology and had some understanding of how the body worked, but worse than that, I had access to several large textbooks, with information on a wide variety of conditions, including some common symptoms. I looked through these books every night before bed, until I had convinced myself that I had MS. The symptoms seemed to be very similar to the ones I had been experiencing – tingling sensations in my
hands and feet; loss of sensation down one side of my body; periods of time when my speech was slurred, or I couldn’t make my hands control a pen. Very scary stuff. The more I read, the more I was convinced that MS was what I had. Thinking back now, with my sensible head on, I do not know why knowing the name was important to me. If you talk to some people with MS, and I do (it’s a fact that all people with MS know all other people with MS), they will say that once they discovered what was happening to them and their body, they felt relieved, almost as if to say ‘finally, I know what it is. Now I can move on’.
For me, however, knowing the name of the thing that had put a spanner in the works of my life, has never really made any difference. Knowing the name of it has never helped alleviate any of the symptoms, or make me sleep better at night. But that could just be the kind of person I am: a glass half full or empty guy? I didn’t even have a glass back then. A problem shared is a problem halved? A problem shared, is a problem 2 people have.
Eventually, my symptoms lifted – the remission part of the condition – enough for me to realize that I needed to go back to work. So back I went.
I had been back at work about two weeks when my consultant called me to the hospital, sat me down and delivered the news. It was delivered in a very matter-of-fact way: Please sit down Mr Boseley. I’ve looked at the results and you have a condition called Multiple Sclerosis.
My wife was with me and for that I am grateful, because as soon as the words ‘Multiple Sclerosis’ came out of his mouth, my brain decided to take a short break. I could see his lips moving and saw him drawing a graph with his pen on some paper on his desk, obviously trying to explain to me what MS was and what it could mean to me, but I could hear no sound and couldn’t comprehend the meaning of the hand drawn graph in front of me.
My brain said I told you so, but it didn’t make it out of my mouth. I sat in my seat, watching the consultant mouth words at me for a while. It may have been two minutes, it may have been ten. It may have been half an hour for all I know, but what I do know for sure, is that after some period of time, I stood up, excused myself, left the room and went to find the toilet, where I was very, very sick.
I stayed in the toilet, on my knees, with my head over the bowl, retching, until there was nothing left to come out, except for some strange bright green stuff that kept coming out in long, stringy globs. Again, I could have been there five minutes, or thirty minutes. Eventually I heard my wife knocking on the toilet door and calling for me.
“Are you alright, babe?”
No, I’m not. I am on my hands and knees in a hospital toilet, throwing up everything I have eaten in the last two days, after being told I have multiple sclerosis.
“Fine, thanks. I’ll be right with you,” is what I said. A problem shared etc.
I walked back into the room with my wife and took my seat again, apologizing for my brief absence. The consultant waved it off and continued telling us about MS and all the many wonderful things it can do to a person. My brain was still not functioning, and again, I saw his lips moving but I heard no sounds. Interestingly, I could hear the birds outside and the traffic on the busy road outside the hospital room that we were in, but no voices. Not even my wife’s, who put her hand on my arm and mouthed something at me.
I think I said ‘thank you’ when the consultant had finished, but I don’t remember. We left the hospital, and walked home through a park. I remember that. Don’t know if my wife or I spoke at all, but eventually, we arrived home.
Next part next week. If you’ve enjoyed (is that even the right word?) reading this, click the ‘follow’ button, and you can get the next part straight to your inbox.
Next week, It’s back to horror during the week. I have a writing challenge coming up, which is to write 10,000 words in a month towards my next book, and I need at least TEN PEOPLE to follow along with that, as the challenge is to work with readers to make it the best 10,000 words I can muster. It won’t be a novel, but it will be one of the short stories in my next book, so hopefully, you’ll get the whole thing over the course of the month. If you want to pick which of my stories I work on, check back on Sunday, when I will give you the choices. Hit the ‘Follow’ button to get it first!
Thanks, guys (and by ‘guys’ I mean men and women).