Walking and Talking to Bedridden

16 Sep

I was a happy wife and mother of two great young men. I was out of work and while my children were in school I spent my days shopping for Christmas gifts and watching Halloween and Thanksgiving movies. I spent my nights making healthy and delicious meals, packing school lunches and drinking alcohol (which caught up to me).

For a few weeks I had not been feeling well, my husband suggested I go to the ER. I had my last drink of alcohol and went to bed. The next morning after dropping the kids off at school, we proceeded to the ER next to our house. The doctors asked me all of my symptoms: weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, numbness in all limbs, stomach pain and double vision. Bloodwork was drawn and a CT of my abdomen was performed. I had acute pancreatitis, high liver enzymes (high enough to lead to cirrhosis or liver disease), dehydration, and malnutrition. I caused so much damage to my organs from alcohol and not eating that I had malabsorption of numerous vitamins.

Due to my symptoms the doctors decided I should be consulted by Neurology which was at another hospital, I was transferred by ambulance and admitted to the Telemetry floor upon arrival. I was hooked up to IV fluids as well as a variety of vitamins I was lacking. At that hospital they treated my malnutrition as well as pancreatitis. I was sent home a week later with discharge plans to follow up with a gastrointerologist and physical therapy for my slight weakness.

We celebrated Thanksgiving and a few days after my discharge, I was still alcohol free but a few symptoms remained. I walked into the kitchen, passed out and woke up on the floor. I was too weak to get up so I slid my body to the living room and called every person in my family. No one was around, so the next call was 911. I was brought the ER at the same hospital I was discharged from. I was admitted again to the same floor, with the same staff and the same doctors. They ran MRI's of my brain, spine and abdomen and they found no reason for my symptoms. My left side seemed to be getting weaker for no reason. I was then transferred to a Boston hospital for their Neurology team.

At the Boston hospital they did the same treatments of vitamin repletion with no resolution of my left side weakness. When I was working as an Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist I worked with a lot of patients who had similar symptoms and a wide variety of diagnosis'. What stood out to me was the use of Prednisone. The doctors were hesitant to treat my symptoms with Prednisone as was the previous hospital. After a few IV bags of predisone I was showing improvement. With all my blood levels now normalized they wanted to address my neuropathy. They performed an EMG and a spinal tap which showed it was not a chronic problem and may be coming from my spinal cord even though my previous MRI was normal. I was then admitted to a Rehab hospital.

I was admitted on a Thursday afternoon and seemed to show progress in my strength up until Saturday. Saturday night my words were slurring and I was experiencing more weakness. By Sunday morning I could barely talk or standup, I was then informed they had not been giving me the predisone, which I was given promptly. An ambulance transported me back to the Boston Hospital where they worked me up for a TIA, and other neurological problems, again every test came back normal. They also administered another high dose of prednisone, a few hours later I was feeling better and able to move me left side. I was admitted to the same Neuro-Surgical floor for more testing and follow up.

A few days into my admission to the Boston hospital, the head of Neurology decided to repeat the Cervical MRI. I was taken in at 5AM for the MRI. By 9AM the team was back with the results. They saw inflammation of my spinal cord. I had to wait 24 hours for the contrat to disperse to have a repeat Brain MRI, although this time it was lengthy and more detailed. Around 9AM again they came to my room with results. I had a condition called CPM (central pontine myelinolysis). Now, with a diagnosis and a new regimen of prednisone that would taper over the next 10 days I was ready to go back to the rehab. 

Over the next month I endured mental and physical rehabilitation. I grew stronger with the support of the health workers and mentally I worked through many emotional struggles with the support of my family. I was strong enough to go home with a walker, a wheelchair and a long list of vitamins and medications to treat my multiple problems.  

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