Alas! In Medical Wonderland

The tale of my eyesight, and lack thereof, has morphed through more iterations than a TV pilot.  It has gone from being a potential tragedy, to an ongoing drama.  Now fortunately, it seems to have decided to become a bit of a mystery/comedy.

The MRI that I had, showed nothing, so I had to go ahead with the lumbar puncture.  The women who have delivered children with an epidural are now saying, Yeah!  Go ahead with it, you wimp.  Not ever having suspected that I would need one, I have not paid a lot of attention to them.  All I knew was that a lot of people thought they were painful.

I was told that I should be at the hospital by 11:30.  Since there is always paperwork, I got the wife and I there by 11:20, figuring that they’ll probably be late anyway.  I was told by the doctor’s office, to go to Day surgery registration, so that is where I presented myself.  The receptionist there felt that I was in the wrong place, and sent me to Radiology reception.  The Radiology receptionist called Day surgery and politely told her that she was an idiot, and that she was sending me back up.  Back at Day surgery, I got registered, got my chart and my fancy wristbands, one red because of allergy, and was sent back up the hall to Day surgery reception.  Now I’ll get something done, I thought.  Silly optimist.

Reception told me to take a seat and wait.  After about ten minutes, I got called…. and was escorted to Day surgery administration, where I sat in front of another clerk, with another computer and was asked the same questions that I had already answered over at registration, and were on my chart.  Apparently my procedure wasn’t scheduled till 1:00 PM.  I had to suffer the vampire thing again so that they could do some last-minute blood checks but, the bulk of the extra hour and a half was to allow for bureaucratic inefficiency.  At least I went to the operating room on time.

Two female techs got me up on the table, with a pillow under my ample tummy to open a gap between the bones.  One of them placed cabalistic runes on my back with a Sharpie, and then the doctor came in.  She told me that she was going to give me a freezing shot.  She said, “This will sting and burn for ten to fifteen….”  MINUTES??!!  No! Seconds, you wuss.  Suck it up.  It did sting and burn, but not badly, and only for 3 to 4 seconds.  With the internal scar tissue from my shoulder implant, I had a problem getting my left arm up on the table to straighten the spine.

She told me not to move suddenly.  No problem for ten or fifteen minutes, but twice she just touched the sciatic nerve, and I got a lightning bolt through my butt and scrotum and down to my left knee.  I didn’t actually jump, but there was a sudden breath sucked in.  She took the pressure of the fluid.  I asked, and was reassured that it was normal, as was the look of the fluid, nice and clear.  Then she wanted to draw some off for bacterial and/or viral culture.  She got the first, larger amount easily, but the second, smaller amount just didn’t seem to want to seep out.  They finally tipped the top of the table up to produce a head.  I was worried they might start shaking me up and down.  I dealt with the whole procedure with relaxation and humor, and the gals told me that I did both them and me a favour, no short or long-term problems, no pain.  Well, just a little bit.

A week later I went back to the Neurologist for a follow-up visit.  I found him pleasantly bemused.  He told me that, with the symptoms I was exhibiting when I first went in, he was ready to throw me in the trunk of his car and drive me an hour up the highway to the University Medical Hospital, for, either optic or brain surgery.  Having looked at the results of all the tests, he is bewildered.  He is happy, but apologised for not having a positive diagnosis.  I do not have a brain tumor.  I have not had a stroke.  I do not have cerebral bleeding, an aneurism or blocked brain drainage ducts.  Neither the bacterial or viral cultures showed anything.  I am truly a conundrum to the poor doctor.  To be honest and fair, I am to my wife and family, and the rest of society, also.

He advised me that, should this occur again, I should immediately contact him or go to Emergency for a spinal tap while the problem is happening.  He offered two possible answers, but was not happy with either.  The “Flu” I had, might have been caused by a meningococcal bacterium, which could have caused a meningitis-like inflammation.  The other thing he mentioned was “benign intra-cranial hypertension.”  I asked if that was caused by thinking too hard.  This is almost always suffered by young women who put on a lot of weight at the beginning of a pregnancy.  I didn’t fit any of those slots, so that possibility is unlikely.

He showed the wife and I the brain slices from the MRI, on his computer.  He stated that my brain is normal, and my wife snorted.  He said, whenever he states that the man’s brain is normal, the wife ALWAYS laughs.  My eyesight is back to almost normal.  This saga seems to be concluding with no unhappy ending, so it’s my turn to laugh.  Onward and upward!  Excelsior!