In the third teaser from KYD issue 23, Anna Barnes looks at how illness has changed her and the relief of diagnosis.
It feels like I am falling. My eyes glaze slightly and my vision begins to blur and a freefall sensation takes over, very soon to be replaced by adrenalin jetting around my body. My heart pounds and sweat begins to pump out of my glands as my body tries to keep me upright. When this begins I know that I have to get myself horizontal as soon as possible no matter where I am. On tram floors, house party dance floors and litter-strewn footpaths, I plant myself down, and wait.
The first GP I went to originally dismissed it as a viral infection. My glands were high-ish, my throat had a dull pain that always felt like it was on the precipice of a more spectacular pain and I was tired, really really tired. After two weeks of bed rest I returned and saw another GP at the same practice who ordered a slew of blood tests. He noted that my blood pressure was low when I was seated and even lower when I stood up, which explained the dizziness, but having low pressure is actually very lucky, he told me. A few days later he rang to let me know my blood works were healthy so whatever it was, it had passed.
It was about this time that the paralysis started in my legs. Lying down watching another episode of Real Housewives of wherever I would feel this weird floating sensation in my leg followed by pins and needles. After a month of constant bed rest, a growing number of symptoms and a workplace wondering what the hell was going on, I saw another GP who suggested we test for MS. She sent away a request for an MRI, told me that the hospital would contact me with an appointment and to try not to worry and, whatever I do, not to Google MS. After a month I called the hospital to find out how long I could expect to be waiting. They let me know that they didn’t have an MRI machine and my doctor would have to refer to someone else. I called the GP practice and let the receptionist know of the mistake as I Googled MS with my free hands. Two weeks later I got a letter from the hospital: I had an appointment for an MRI in six months.
That week I tried to go to work but lasted only an hour before I was sent home, white-faced and horizontal in a taxi. I went to the GP and she told me she couldn’t treat me until MS had been ruled out.
What should I tell my workplace? I asked her in tears
Want to read the rest? Issue 23 will be available online Monday 12th October! Be the first to read it by purchasing a print or online subscription to KYD.
Image credit: Ethan Hickerson