Saturday, 10 May 2014

My Life with Transverse Myelitis part 1

How would you feel if one day something or someone you loved was taken from you?

Well, on January 3rd 2014, something I thought I would never lose was taken away from me; my ability to move.

At around 9am, as I was washing my hands, I started feeling my arms stiffening. Not wanting to panic, I continued washing my hands, but coming out of the bathroom, I couldn't move neither of my arms. No matter how hard I tried, they stayed limp by my side. Still not wanting to panic but started feeling slightly anxious as I was thinking to myself, "Am I experiencing a stroke?" (Stroke at 23, I must be super unhealthy), I called out to my mother and upon realising that what was happening to me needed immediate medical attention, I urged my mother to bring me to the emergency.

Getting ready was really challenging. I was still in my pyjamas since I just woke up and haven't showered and it was really difficult for my mum to wear me my clothes. She managed to get me into a dress and a jacket and my hijab and off we went to the hospital. I'm really thankful I could still walk to the car because it would have been real tough for my mum to get me into the car. 

The ride to the hospital seemed liked the longest ride in my life. There I was, paralysed in my upper limbs, with an unbearable pain across my chest and arms which made me feel, and to be utterly frank, like I was dying.

I had only two thoughts in mind; my sins and whether I had done enough to grant me a place in Jannah (Paradise). The fear was there of course, nothing is scarier than thinking that that day would be your last and that was when I realised I wasn't the best Muslimah I could be; I wasn't ready to meet my Creator, wasn't ready for my punishment and questioning. And in that moment, all I felt was regret; I regretted not living my life as the Muslimah I should, as I promised to be.

Unfortunately, instead of turning right into the emergency, my mum went straight, so we had to make one big round. Finally, alhamdulillah, we arrived in front of the A&E, Accident & Emergency. I remember waiting quite awhile for help to arrive. I was sitting in the car and there was this Singh man who kept looking at me and I really wanted to call out for help. I think he must have sensed that there was something wrong with me because he kept looking at me. Either that or he was thinking, "Um, could you please not block the door with your car? Thank you." After what seemed like hours my mum finally arrived with help and a stretcher. I had to be carried on to the stretcher because my legs were already weak and couldn't support my body. And guess what? It was the same Singh man that helped me.

Being in the emergency room(ER) felt very surreal; mostly because I thought I'd never end up there especially not because I couldn't move, and also because the atmosphere was so different to my life, to what I'm used to.

The medical attendant(MA) that attended to me started asking me so many questions. Lucky for me he was really nice and in between questioning, he comforted me. However, there was this doctor who was a bit aggressive and lacking in sympathy and empathy while questioning me which made me want to grab him by the collar and shout, "I AM IN MASSIVE PAIN, PLEASE STOP TALKING AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!" But all I could was moan and so I did and probably sensing that I must be in pain, he started softening his voice and reassured me that I'll be taken care of.

By the time I was in the ER, the pain in my chest and arms had shifted to my neck which made it hard for me to move it. So I just laid there, still trying to figure out what was happening to me until the MA came to me again, this time to insert a branula. I can't remember where my branula was inserted or whether it was inserted at all. That's the problem with having a short-term memory!

After they, the MA and the doctor, finished checking me, I was wheeled to the other side of the ER. I can't remember much after that but I did remember wanting to do number 1 but couldn't so I had to be put on catheter. And also my family members coming to visit me...  I remember an orthopaedic doctor came to examine me and even he was baffled by my situation, so imagine how I felt!

The hours passed by like minutes, I was still in a daze and still confused. I laid there, not abled to move my arms I moved my legs, shifting them from one position to the other. And so the hours pass until I was wheeled into the resuscitation area...

(To be continued)

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