By Jewel Tyler
Later that day my vitals stabilized and I was moved back to my private room. I was visited by so many different types of staff and administration. The discussions were about which facility I would be moving too because I as not going home. I had to now transfer to a Rehabilitation Hospital and I needed to decide which location. The other visitors were regarding the selection of a neurologist since I had fired Dr. Gupta. I wanted Dr. Harney, but because they both worked in the same office, Dr. Gupta blocked me from being his patient; even though he was the doctor that finally diagnosed me with MS.
The pain was excruciating from the Pace Maker surgery. I had to wear a sling and I could not lift my left arm above my head and not really utilize it for much of anything. Which was not going to be a problem since that is the arm and hand which was paralyzed partially from the MS exacerbation. The other thing with being in the hospital for so long and all of the drugs was constipation. My best friend was by my side the entire day. She was such a doll and wonderful support. I had many visitors from work when I was more calm and aware; I realized the first night I was admitted I had contacted one of my co-workers that I knew had MS. She asked which hospital I was in I shared the information with her. I was thinking she could pass the information on to my manager because I had just been admitted. When I was first admitted I was rushed for a CAT Scan with dye and then on to have an MRI with dye. Along with everything else, I was administered morphine, because after I was removed from the MRI machine and placed back on my bed I was in excruciating pain. It was my lower back, I could not move, it brought tears; and I can take some pain! Morphine was provided and I was once again in my room. I dozed off, and when I awoke there at the foot of my bed along with my son was my co-worker, I could hear her but I could not see her clearly. All I can recall saying to her was “Wow Carolyn there are two of you, everything is two.” Then my vision in my right eye was gone, I know I must have looked pretty crazy closing and opening my eyes trying to focus. Once again, they returned and more Morphine in my IV. That is all I remember until the next day. She was gone and I felt so embarrassed. A doctor arrived that first day after being admitted prior to my heart surgery and informed me a new little known fact. I had Arthritis in my lower spine, that is why the pain was so great the night before. One more thing to add to the list!
My son would come to the hospital diligently twice a day before and after work. Poor baby I felt for him, new to Texas, new job and then all of this happening with his mom. He is my youngest son and this was a lot for him to have to deal with. However, I guess also he received well learned lessons. He had to handle the bills and everything with maintaining our home. And I believe him having his Auntie Lisa (you know in the black culture best friends are Aunties to our children – smile) around was a huge plus.
I felt like a total mess but tried my best not to show it. Pacemaker surgery in full exacerbation, learning I had MS it was a lot to undertake. However, the biggest factor was all of the different things which was going on with my body as well as my mind. I could not remember anything, and it was driving me batty, I pride myself on my level of intelligence and things I know. Therefore, to have a discussion with my girlfriend and I would just draw blanks brought tears. My son though was such a huge support; we are both big movie buffs and have the same favorite TV shows. When he would visit, he would want to discuss movies and TV and I would sit with a blank stare on my face because I could not even remember a character from a movie I may have just watched. Nevertheless, he was there when the Therapist had the discussion with me regarding the cognitive therapy we would be doing and she explained to him how to help me with memory exercises. He was on it! Love him and he still works with me on this to this day. He has so much patience with me, but not other people or things in his life. But his MOM! Yes, very patient, loving and supportive.
I mentioned the constipation and with all of the other drugs, I was not interested in any more. So, my friend who is a vegetarian and healthy person, sits next to me and says, I brought you something all the way from California. I laughed as she reached down in her huge bag and pulled out some trail mix, plantains from our favorite restaurant in Cali – Porto’s (man we have had some great lunches and discussions at this place). It is a Cuban restaurant and bakery – the best desserts you ever want to taste and the prices are fabulous. So if you are in Los Angeles, look up Porto’s. Great asparagus soup and you have to try their potato balls they taste like meat loaf and mash potatoes in a round ball – delicious. Okay, I just went down memory lane there. Before I could have the wonderful plantain chips, she pulled out a huge bran muffin. We laughed; she said this is just want you need to get things going. Just as she pulled it out the nurse entered and informed me I would be on a strict diet and I had to choose from the menu she was providing for my meal for the remainder of the day.
When the nurse left I looked at my girlfriend and said “Well I guess no treats for me today” We both gave each other that look and she said “Girl here eat this muffin you know it is not going to hurt”. We continued laughing and I enjoyed that muffin (smile). You know what, about an hour later the restroom was my best friend! When they finally arrived with the stool softeners, I informed them I would not be needing them! The other drugs however had started to kick in and I suggested to my girlfriend it might be a good idea if she go back to my home with my son so she could freshen up and get some rest. I know after the long flight she came straight to the hospital and had to be tired. She disagreed, but I insisted.
Off to sleep I went and she left. When I awoke fully it was the next day, and I was informed I would be transferred to the Rehab hospital. I had decided to go to the hospital closer to my home rather than the one closer to the hospital I was in which is a bit of a distance from where I live and a bit of a commute for my son twice a day. Later that day my son and Lisa (my friend) arrived and with clothes in tow for me to change into. I was discharged and then we were on our journey. I wanted so bad to just go home, I was done with being in the hospital but Lisa insisted you are GOING!
We arrived at the Rehab Hospital and I was admitted, by the time of our arrival my pain meds had wore off. I felt like on top of everything else someone was stabbing me in my right shoulder. I was fortunate enough to have a private room in the regular hospital and I also had a private room in the Rehab Hospital.
Once the admission was over and I was in my new home, I was bombarded by people all over again. Occupational Therapist, Speech Therapist, Physical Therapist, Cognitive Therapist, the doctor that was assigned to me at the hospital, the tech that would be taking my vitals and finally the wonderful nurse I came to know very well during my stay. Our first encounter was not good because she insisted I had High Blood Pressure and I explained to her the only reason I was experiencing High BP at the hospital I just left was because of my heart condition that had been corrected. I lost and was put on High BP meds along with a barrage of other medication. You have to understand, I have never been a person who takes drugs. I believe in natural alternative healing remedies. To have my body infiltrated with all of the various drugs – Baclofen – for the muscle spasms, Nuerontin – for the nerve pain, Narco for the pain from the surgery, IV Steriods for the MS, another medication for indigestion and yes stool softeners, and finally Valium to keep me calm from the Steroids. I wanted someone to please give me the biggest shot of WHEAT GRASS JUICE they could find to clean the toxins out of my system along with some fresh beet, carrot, spinach and celery JUICE.
I did not win the battle nor did I receive the juice. I conceded to the drugs.
(to be continued)