Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Lack of Enthusiasm for a Possible Happy Turn of Events

As predicted, the steroids are making me very restless. My mind won't settle for any long amount of time on a single topic, but flits about from one thing to another with a disconcerting detached-from-reality speed. Apparently it's Tuesday. I couldn't tell you where Monday went. I vaguely recall making the trip into Tokyo to pick up my backpack from Catherine at the embassy, Mom and Dad in tow. Catherine's been wonderful, and I hope she forgives this daze I'm in. I'm so tired, and I can't focus. I really want to focus.

Today: eye tests, more MRIs, more IVs. The IV restart takes 5 sticks, and burns so badly afterwards that I ask for it to be removed rather than leaving it in till tomorrow. My arms look as if they've been attacked by rabid bees. Just one more steroid dose, and then they can recover. I dread the last IV. I think the vein expert does, too; he's nervously talking about trying something with lidocaine, maybe adjusting the timing... Quite honestly, if he suggested cutting off my arm with a grapefruit spoon so he could take the limb into the better lighting of his office, I think I'd agree. I would do anything for this man, I feel so indebted to him. If anyone else even points a needle at me, I start to quake in fear.

The new MRIs take place at a hospital here in Yokosuka, though off-base. I have to go out there after the eye exam, necessitating the wearing of flimsy wrap-around plastic sunglasses to protect my dilated pupils. The first thing you give up when you're ill is any sense of dignity; trundling about the waiting room in dark glasses and a hospital dressing gown, I look like some sort of bed-ridden albino yakuza moll. Luckily, I'm able to find this amusing rather than embarrassing or insulting. Dad says the glasses make me look like Badtz-Maru.

The new MRI is enhanced by some sort of inert metal they injected so as to give a clearer image; the lesions should 'glow'. Instead, it reveals all the lesions to have lessened, perhaps even to have gone away entirely. The neurologist is now hopeful that this is not MS, but something called ADEM ('Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis' or 'Acute Demyelinating Encephalomyelitis', your pick). This condition resembles MS in all ways except:

1. It is monophasic (i.e., does not represent a continuum of flare-ups);
2. The lesions don't hang around to form scars.

Or in other words, ADEM is a one-off event, probably a reaction to a virus (I can recall having somewhat of a cold a few weeks ago), and might never happen to me again. Obviously a much better diagnosis than MS.

Dad seems ready to call it faith healing; I'm more reserved. There's one more series of MRIs to go tomorrow. I'll wait for that to give us a better idea of things. My body feels so tired, so violated by random physical affronts. I just want to be home in my own bed. I just want to sleep.