A few tomorrows later, and I was truly beginning to believe I was ill. I didn’t get sick very often. My last cold was early 2008. I caught norovirus in 2009. Other than that, and my scary, prolonged pneumothorax a couple of years ago, I just didn’t get ill. I’ve joked that I must have a superhuman immune system (the irony of that would hit me later). Or should I thank my germaphobia? I was known to avoid people sneezing and coughing near me, as if they actually have the plague. To whip out the antibacterial wipes and go on a cleaning frenzy at the first hint of anyone I lived or worked with coming down with the lurgy!
My dizziness, disorientation and double vision was becoming worse as the days passed into my 2nd week of… whatever this was. I felt as though I might fall over whenever I walked anywhere. I couldn’t read or watch TV unless I closed my drooping eyelid. I couldn’t leave the house on my own. I would sleep for upwards of 12 hours out of every 24. And the dreams! So vivid, lucid and disturbing. Google said nothing much about nightmares in the symptoms listed for strokes, MS or brain tumours.
An appointment for a head MRI for the following week arrived. I phoned for my blood test results. All clear. I took this to mean I didn’t have an infection, much as I suspected.
Before my visit to hospital for the MRI scan, an appointment to see a neurologist consultant arrived. It was for 6 days after the scan. Again, I was relieved and concerned all at once. We often heard that our NHS was failing, but it was moving fast for me. Why, I wondered?
The day of my scan came around slowly. I felt no better. It had been 12 days since ‘the episode’.
My husband finished work early so he could take me. I could’t get there on my own and needed someone to escort me; across the car park, to navigate the maze of hospital corridors, to hold my hand so I didn’t walk into people. And to emotionally prop me up.
The radiology staff explained the procedure to me and gave me plugs to shield my ears from the drill hammer racket the scanner made. I lay there as still as possible, tried not to flinch as the magnets banged and vibrated. I could only see parts of the staff in the tiny mirror positioned so it was just visible through the immobiliser I wearing to ensure I didn’t move my head. It was over in 15 minutes.
Freeing me from the machine, the radiographer said my specialist would give me the results at my appointment the following week. I was even more unsteady than before the scan, and with my head spinning faster than ever I staggered back to the waiting room.
Back home I hoped I was one step closer to finding out what was happening to me. Six more days to wait, to find out the reason for this, to research the possibilities, convince myself that whatever was wrong, I could deal with it and recover.
Six. Long. Days.
I decided to give meditation a try. Whatever was wrong, it wasn’t going to be helped by anxiety and sleepless nights. And I needed a new hobby, one that didn’t involve using my useless eyes, or being mobile. Something to pass the endless days of fretting.
I was sort of looking forward to seeing the neurologist. Knowing was infinitely preferable to this. Feeling so out of control of my life was not comfortable for me, someone with distinct obsessive compulsive tendencies. I liked closure. I didn’t like waiting.
I was never very patient when playing pass the parcel. Always eager to get to the good bit.