Funny odd, not funny haha. It wasn’t the least bit amusing I assure you.
So just over 5 weeks ago I woke up one morning and my left leg felt like it had gone ‘dead’. You know, like I was awake but it was still asleep? Well, I just figured I’d slept on it funny or something and got on with my day. I noticed it was slightly weaker than usual, as though I didn’t have as much strength in my calf muscle as normal but I still managed to get on with life without it being too much of a bother. That night I noticed I had pins and needles in my toes and heel and that the sole of my foot felt numb, I guessed it was related to the weakness in some way but still wasn’t sure what was going on and although the buzzing sensation made it hard to sleep, other than that life carried on as normal for a few days. When it started to get worse rather than better, and I was walking with a limp and finding stairs difficult, I went to see a doctor. A locum at my GP practice diagnosed me with “sciatica” and sent me away with an instruction to exercise more and a prescription for some ibuprofen gel (which I didn’t bother to fill, since I had no pain or inflammation at all).
Almost immediately after that the weakness began in both my arms as well, accompanied by pins and needles in my fingers. It was subtle at first, I noticed pushing the buggy was harder than normal, I struggled in confusion when lifting the kids in and out of their car seats. One evening I decided to bath rather than shower and couldn’t lift a jug of water to rinse my hair, I came downstairs and complained to Chris that I was feeling weak and pathetic and he had to comb my hair for me because I didn’t have the strength to do it. I knew something wasn’t right but it wasn’t until I went to work 2 nights later that I realised how bad things had got. Once there, I realised that at home I had been adapting my every day tasks to accommodate my weakness but at work I couldn’t do that. I struggled to open medicine bottles or tear open packets of IV fluids, I bent down to sort out an IV pump and couldn’t get back up again without grabbing on to the desk to heave myself up. My hands shook and hummed and buzzed almost constantly. It was a busy shift with 2 admissions and I barely sat down all night. When I drove home that morning I kept missing my gears, and my left leg had a tremor so bad I had to put the hand brake on every time I paused for even a minute as I couldn’t keep it still on the clutch. On a couple of occasions I came close to crashing and for the first time, since my problems had started a fortnight before I actually felt unsafe to be behind the wheel of a car. I got home and collapsed, literally in to a chair, and felt like I would never be able to move again.
Chris suggested I go to A&E or at the very least make an emergency GP appointment, but I didn’t want to see another locum, and anyway I was adamant I had to be back at work for my 2nd shift that night so I struggled up the stairs to bed where I sat and cried, wondering what the hell was wrong with me.
I called my GP surgery and said that I understood there wouldn’t be any appointments left for that day but asked if it would be possible to at least speak to a Dr on the phone, the receptionist said that my GP would call me back at 11am. She then rang back almost immediately after I hung up to say that actually, if I could get to the surgery for 11am she would in fact see me.
My boys joined me in bed for a cuddle. I was exhausted but wired, and literally buzzing so didn’t think I’d be able to sleep. Toby offered to sing me a lullaby. Chris told me later that by the time he’d finished his rendition of “Jack and Jill” I was out like a light.
At 11am as promised I was called through to my Dr’s room, I sat down on the chair by her desk and she said “What can I do for you?” to which I burst into tears and through hiccuping sobs explained what had been going on. I should explain that my GP is brilliant and when I’d finished she simply said “That’s not right. This needs investigating” After performing a few examinations and establishing I did indeed have a significant weakness, particularly in my arms she rang the medical consultant on call at MRI and arranged for me to be seen and then sent me with a letter to A&E where the next stage of my saga began.
And as this is becoming somewhat epic and I am increasingly struggling to type I’ll have to leave it there…
Stay tuned for part 2!