Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Worst Week Of My Life - Day 2

Monday, November 19, 2012 broke as most November days do here in Calgary, partially cloudy and cold. There was snow on the ground, as you might expect for this time of year, and a chill wind was gusting from the northwest. I got up as I did most days, at 7:30 AM, had my light breakfast and a cup of coffee, and headed off to work.

The day at work was uneventful, a normal kind of day for me. Meetings, follow-ups, writing plans and doing paperwork for the two projects I had underway at the CBE. One of the directors once asked me what I did all day. I told him I came in each day and nudged these projects towards the edge of a cliff. When they fell off, I was done. It was another day of nudging.

It was after work where the real fun began. Perhaps that's too light-hearted. There was no fun in this at all. I went straight from work to the Foothills Hospital ER. I checked in and explained that I had fallen on Saturday and was having trouble standing up and walking. The Triage Nurse asked me to wait, and I did, for four hours. I sat there doing little to nothing, making the odd phone call, thinking about how much it was costing to keep my truck parked there.

After four hours, I finally became a bit upset. I know my condition was not an emergency, but surely something could be done. So I went back to the Triage Nurse again, this time a different one, and explained more fully my symptoms. As I explained my slow loss of muscle tone in my legs, my increasing difficulty with stairs and steps, my constant risk of falling, something changed in her demeanor. She looked at me intensely and said "We're going to get you in right away."

And so it began.

The first thing to happen was more waiting, but at least I was in the ER. Then a young ER doctor interviewed me, immediately ordering blood tests. He also mentioned that he was going to ask for a Neurology consult, but it might take a couple of hours. I went and had blood drained from my arm. I should have been suspicious right then, because no sooner than I got back to my bed the on call Neurologist showed up. It was fast, too fast.

We had a long discussion, talking about symptoms and possible causes. Things like Guillain-Barre syndrome or other possible nerve damaging things came up. I mentioned my accident with the motor but he seemed to dismiss that fairly quickly. No pain. Once again I should have been suspicious, but ALS never even came close to entering my thoughts.

The Neurologist said he wanted to keep me for an MRI, but it wasn't likely to happen that night. Would I mind waiting "in chairs" for a while? "In Chairs" is an area in the ER filled with La-Z-Boy type reclining chairs. This was to be my home for much of the night. I called a few people to let them know what was happening. Dion came to take my truck home. Anisa came to bring me some snacks. Others came, and went. I fell asleep.

In the wee small hours of the night, I was awoken and once again asked to move to a bed in the ER. What I now know is they were getting me ready for the morning Neurology shift. All I knew then was I had a bed, and then morning was coming soon. And I still didn't know what was going on with my legs.

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