Saturday, October 21, 2006

Small, Deep, and 'Rolly'

I never thought of myself as being a bad patient -- actually, never thought of myself as being a 'patient' -- but yesterday when they were trying to draw blood I writhed and kicked and howled in ferocious animal pain. Something about the stress of the recent diagnosis, coupled with very small, deep, uncooperative veins, and a freezing cold hospital room... it was a rather embarrassing display on my part, and doesn't bode well for the future. They had to call in the the hospital vein expert. He is good at 'sticking' -- I was able to keep my response down to stifled moans while he prodded and jabbed the inside of my elbow and forearm. They made over 10 punctures to get a single phial of blood; I think they need 8 total. At the current rate, only 70 more jabs to go.

At least the IV is finally in (though it's going to take me some time before I hear the letters 'IV' and don't automatically respond "No, you can't have a B2 visa."). It'll stay in for the entire week, and they'll be using it to give me steroids to combat the lesion. I've been making myself look at where it enters my arm, to inure myself to things. This will be a constantly recurring part of my life now, right?

It's 7am... I wonder if they have a coffee IV...

I think what disturbs me most is not the abrupt nature of this, but rather the sense of it being sort of matter-of-course. Where's my melodramatic Lifetime Feature Presentation soundtrack? The closeup as I am informed of my life-altering new fate? The cut to commercial while I try to shampoo my hair, one unbendable IV-laden arm stiff at my side, and the other half numb, struggling to feel my scalp...

I'm concerned about work. Never in my wildest imaginings would I have predicted craving a return to the visa window. I didn't bring anything to study. I'd really like to be reading about E and L visa regulations instead of wasting my time staring at the hawks circling outside my 5th floor hospital room window. A trip in November was supposed to set me up with the ability to assist with TDYs in hardship posts, something I've been really wanting to do. I doubt they'll let me make that trip now. I doubt they'll ever let me go to a hardship post. I'm afraid they'll yank my medical clearance. I'm afraid I'll lose my job. What will I do? You can't make picture frames if you can't feel your hands.

I am thankful, though, that this is just a spinal lesion, just a matter of motor-control -- at least, so far. It's one thing to be numbly stumbling about like a drunken mummy, but a frontal lobe lesion would effect cognitive function. This alarms me greatly; how would I recognize that MS was the source? Now, whenever I can't remember a kanji or can't work out the spelling of an English word, some part of me will wonder... But maybe I'm just being paranoid. I need to do more research before I let myself worry.

My friend Sharon called from Hawaii, and managed to set just the right tone. She half-jokingly suggested taking advantage of my time on base to find a Navy guy... and actually, having some sort of partner now seems more immediately important than before. I've even thought of a great pick-up line: 'Hey sailor, I may not be able to feel my body, but maybe YOU can.' Heh heh. Surely someone out there has a stumbling fetish...

Sigh. I need my ipod charger.