Why was I falling over when I turned and had to catch myself on the walls in order to walk straight? Every step felt like a trampoline was under my feet and the house swayed back and forth. Something was wrong and doctors suspected the worst of the worst (if there is such a thing). I had a brain tumor nine years ago so local doctors wondered if it was a second brain tumor. They advised me to visit my neurologist immediately. Thus, we made the familiar five-hour trip to Punjab. After the MRI scan, a brain tumor was struck off the list of possibilities almost as soon I got there. So, why was I so disbalanced?
The first deduction included tuberculosis, autoimmune disorders and leukemia. What a ball of fun! If you’ve had your share of hospital experiences, you’ll understand what I’m talking about when I say multiple tests were lined up so that all the possibilities would be ruled out in the hope of finding where my balance problem truly stemmed from.
I was admitted for one week. Harrowing “tests,” as in horror films, were on the list. The most unbearable ones were the first choice of the doctors. My friend, also a doctor, advised me, “Choose tuberculosis, it can be cured in about 8 months. Autoimmune can be controlled, but stay away from leukemia.” I thought, “okay, I’ll see what I can do.”
There were various blood tests and cancer ultrasounds, which I can’t complain about, but a more objectionable test was the lumbar puncture. I had to curl up on my side in a tight ball on a narrow table while a big needle was injected into my spine to draw out spinal fluid. And shock treatment —!?!?!? But for me the worst was a spinal angiogram.
A long fat needle is shoved into your upper thigh and upwards along the spine (only local anesthetics guarding you from pain). Dye is dispersed for a detailed computer view. Before taking this test, you are told it is a bit “risky.” I learned that word “risky” should be considered seriously before committing yourself to such a thing.
The angiogram took two hours of lying on my back —agonizing because my spine is deformed. Afterwards I was sent to the ICU for a few hours and told to lay on my back without moving for another 6 hours! My distorted spine was very upset with me. Finally, still lying on my unhappy back, I was allowed back to my room. Wide strips of adhesive tape crisscrossed my thighs and abdomen to keep me from hemorrhaging. The nurse firmly told me not to move until midnight or 12:30. That didn’t add up in my calculations. Six hours from the time the operation finished should have been 11:00 pm. I decided that 11:00 pm was the correct hour. At three minutes to eleven I could stand it no longer and groaned to my husband, “pull me up!” Wrapped with tape I waddled around the room like a penguin while he and another nurse supported me. I laid back down on my side. Now the angiogram is only a bad, but unfortunately, unforgettable memory.
A PET scan and three steroid infusions were sweet in comparison. At the end of the week, we gladly and hurriedly took off for home. I was a sticky adhesive mess, but free from the torture chambers.
So, what was the diagnosis? None of the above diseases! All I needed was a simple change in the medicines I’ve been on for the past nine years. With all those traumatic tests etched into my memory, it almost seemed like a let-down. Everything had been heading for some tragic finale. After I adjusted my thinking cap, I realized that was such an easy and amazing solution. Everything had been properly and officially ruled out!
I have nearly died many times, but I’m still alive and thankful that the God I know can be trusted in all circumstances. I’m spared from worry about life. God is aware of every situation, so I lean back and trust. Nothing left for me to do but to thank God for doctors and nurses who care and give their time and their utmost to find reasons for symptoms and cures for illnesses. There is a certain bond between doctors and God; God says to them, “love and cure the sick” and in His wisdom, teaches them how to do it. I have to be honest and admit; my doctors did a tremendous job.