Don Quixote would be proud

I’ve spent the better part of the past 2 weeks getting a diagnosis for why I’ve felt dizzy and had double vision off and on for most of the summer. After getting an MRI and an ENG test to try and determine why I was dizzy, I also developed a facial palsy (couldn’t move the right half of my face, mostly cheek). After the results of the MRI showed lesions on my brain, my ear nose throat doc wanted me to go in for a lumbar puncture to see if the ultimate cause for some of my symptoms was MS. Of course by the time I was able to get a neurologist appointment, the steroids the doc had prescribed for my palsy had knocked out most of my symptoms.

Going to the hospital for the lumbar puncture was the start of two weeks of bad luck leading to a tedious hell. Going into the hospital, I felt fine having just finished a round of steroids. By the third day, I had had another MRI showing more lesions on my spine as well as the dozen or so known to be on my brain from the first MRI, and it was time to go for my lumbar puncture to be followed by breaking out of that hospital joint. Well, the LP (lumbar puncture) went fine, and I was told at discharge that I should be fine resuming normal life activities. I could really have wished they would have told me that at the first sign of a headache I needed to lie down.

Instead, the next day A and I went to my Grandma’s to celebrate her 91st birthday. My head ache got worse and worse until I puked all over my brand new car on the way home. The docs from the hospital then told me to lie down for a few days and see if it got better. Evidently, a leak of the spinal fluids can happen in about 10% of the people who get LPs. Well, that didn’t help, so I ended up back in the hospital where I got tons of caffeine and two blood patches (each one has about an 85% chance to work). Did I mention I wasn’t the luckiest during this stretch?

I was also put back on steroids. In my mind, the steroids are an anti-valium. Everything becomes a big deal, and even a modicum of stoicism is an almost impossible goal. At some points, it got to a absolutely ludicrously funny level, even to me while I cry and laugh at teh same time. Heck, I was fighting off tears watching Independence Day! That movie is neither good nor a tear jerker. The good news when things like this happen is it pushes things to a point where at least my mind recognizes the silliness of the emotion.

The hard part is that are things that have annoyed me for ever that I now respond to instead of just ignoring. It kind of reminds me of Don Quixote tilting at windmills because he doesn’t like the way the world is nor where he thinks it’s going. So he dons his armor, mounts his charger and tilts at the windmills representing what he dislikes. Emotionally, I blame the steroids for encouraging me to rail at things that I know are probably not solvable simply for being mentioned. There’s a silly side of me that just thinks maybe if I mention it differently or more forcefully or …. Maybe then I’ll be in an Abrams tank instead of on a horse. With my recent luck, even if I found an emotional tank, the windmill would be on the edge of a cliff.

There is also a small part of me that wonders if the steroids aren’t driving me a little mad. The best definition for madness I have ever heard is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The thought patterns which annoy me aren’t new, and they’re not even unrecognized. I know they’re unproductive, and I still keep hoping to find another way, but what’s the saying about if your only tool is a hammer every problem looks like a nail? Ah well, the steroids aren’t forever and with every step down in dosage I feel a bit more normal.

Reading back over this, I realize I really only put the bad part of the steroids down. There have been some positives too. Coming back home sleeping in bed with my wife and animals, looking at my daughter all dressed up in Redskins clothing (yay another future fan), walking outside with the animals on a beautiful fall day, the curiosity satisfied on what they mean by cognitive testing etc…there have been some very good things. It’s just that I’m normally fairly positive, so the negatives stand out as more abnormal to me.