The Diagnosis

The answer to Writing on Weakness and a Hospital StayA FallComforting the Downcast, and This Is Me.

A few weeks ago, as I was throwing a couple of bags into the trunk of my parents’ car, my hat fell over my eyes. I lost the sense of where the trunk door was and slammed my head on it.

Three hours later, my knees gave out when I joined the line at our local fairgrounds for pancakes and sausage at the Maple Syrup Fair. I jolted forward and clutched a vendor’s table to keep myself from falling to the concrete floor.

Last week while feeding the livestock, I walked quickly from the corn wagon to the feed room and caught my foot on the ledge. I crashed onto the concrete. I wasn’t hurt badly, hands just sore, but I couldn’t figure out how to rise. I grasped at feed barrels and sacks before thinking to bring my right foot forward and lean to gain upward momentum.

The rest of the evening, I moved slowly, disoriented.

Continue reading “The Diagnosis”

Writing on Weakness and a Hospital Stay

It’s been hard to write lately.

When I poise my fingers over the keyboard, I squint, trying to focus on individual letters. Instead, words swim in front of me. Sometimes, my hands weaken, and I can barely move my fingers. My typing speed is slower than usual.

Sitting upright, bookcases drift right and left, and the kitchen table jolts backwards and forwards. I feel nauseous.

I try standing, but sometimes, I need help to rise from the couch. Walking means lilting to one side, crashing into door frames, stumbling, losing sense of reality, and nearly pitching headfirst into the side of the car.

I briefly tried medication, but it sent me into a mental spin, and I couldn’t make it past the first hymn last Sunday morning. We left the assembly and drove home.

I’ve barely driven for the last month and a half, relinquishing the steering wheel after dizziness advanced so suddenly during one trip to town that I couldn’t see the road. I pushed myself to drive through the woods to a safe pull-off overlooking the West Union Covered Bridge and sat in the shade for 45 minutes, nervously scrolling through Twitter to take my mind off of what had just happened.

After a month of this, double vision set in. Mysterious leg pain I’d previously attributed to wearing old work boots crept in again. I was convinced to go to the emergency room.

There, a bomb dropped: “We’re looking at M.S.” Continue reading “Writing on Weakness and a Hospital Stay”