wobbly legs

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December 2011


When I think back to the loss of my legs, I don't remember much.  In a lucid and dream like way I recall the pain and the physical breakdown and the mental apathy that took hold of me.  I suppose the upheaval of my life should have thrown me into a mental breakdown.  But it didn't.  Instead it was my body that broke and my mind that sat in a state of suspension thanks to my doctors prescription of heavy opioids.  

You'd think the slow process of paralysis wouldn't cause much pain, after all the end result was numbness.  But it wasn't, it was agonizing, something between hot pokers and electrical stabs. It was unreal.  The pain and the narcotics seemed to erase my mind.  I sat for months in an almost catatonic state almost forgetting the hell.

My children would come and sit by me. I'd read them stories about the Juggling Pug or the Great Fuzz Frenzy or stroke their hair but mostly I just lay on the sofa watching their lives play out before me.  It was the holidays.  I missed the Winter Sing and the violin concert and Christmas festivities.  

As Mr. Scabs watched me physically unravel and mentally turn to mush he began to feel desperate. I was nothing like the girl he knew.  He was afraid.  I was deteriorating.

There were a million appointments with different doctors and physical therapists and chiropractors and witch doctors and shamen, all with varied diagnoses and treatments.  He yelled "NO" and wheeled me out of the pain management doctor just before I was injected with a slew of cortisone shots.  He threw his hands up in frustration when the therapies fizzled and my paralysis grew worse, spreading deep into both legs down my thighs, calves and even into my smallest pinky toes.

The morning before Christmas Eve, Mr. Scabs picked me out of my bed and sat me in the passenger seat of our car.  I wasn't pretty.  I smelled.  I hadn't eaten.  My hair was knotted.  I'd worn the same pajama pants and T-shirt for weeks.  At this point, even the gentle sprinkle of a hot shower was too excruciating.  

It was an appointment with a new specialist, a physicians assistant.  It was the day before Christmas Eve and the office was empty.  All the appointments had been cancelled but this P.A. stayed.  Later she said she'd had a feeling she should see me.  The moment I described my symptoms she gave me the look.  Then she asked me a few more questions, reviewed my MRI and then excused herself to call the doctor.

You know the deep, burning lump in your throat that kick starts slow hot tears.  Those kind of tears began to leak from my eyes as she explained my diagnosis and the emergency surgery I needed. Suddenly, I knew, and Mr Scabs knew that she was right.  The doctor cancelled his holiday plans and within hours I was nodding off to the gentle drip of the anesthesiologist.

The miracle of all this is that when I came to, I could walk.
I simply was able to get out of bed, stand up straight and walk!