Last night there was a pub quiz. It started at 2000hrs, so we left at 1920hrs to shout up to a friends window & bully him into coming along and we got to the pub at about 1930hrs.
I ordered my favourite drink – well, my favourite from the selections available – Thatchers Heritage cider. (I’d rather have Thatchers Gold, but my local doesn’t sell that at the moment).
Anyhoo, I sat outside in the waning temperature (it had been 30+°C, so it was still very warm) with a pint of cider and we waited for our friends and teammates to turn up.
I had only drunk half that pint as we went indoors. It was early in the evening and I was anticipating being there till closing time at 2300hrs and possibly beyond. So I wanted to take it easy. If you actually know me in real life, you’ll know that drinking is one of my skills. I have trained and practiced since I was a child and am very good at it, now.
The quiz begins and we start to do abysmally. Which makes a change as we tend to win. A round or three in and the headache I had been nursing for a couple of days started getting worse. Aided by my sinuses playing up, making me want to pull all my teeth out.
One of my friends nips out to their car to fetch me some antihistamines, hoping that they might help the sinus issue, as we’re all blaming the hot weather and associated humidity.
Whilst he’s out getting the tabs (all of about 45 seconds) I began to feel worse and worse. I had, by this time, finished that first pint and had had a couple of slugs out the second one that was now in front of me .
My husband was still stood at the bar, getting the rest of the round in and when he came back I told him that I needed to go home.
I was very very sweaty – clothes wet sweaty – yet vacillating between very hot and quite cold and clammy. I felt nauseous and my chest was beginning to hurt.
I recognised the start of an MS “hug”. We left the pub (before closing time – unheard of!) – and I proceeded to walk home with the help of my walking frame. I thought I would be ok, but as I took those first few steps, I realised that the walking frame alone was not enough help to get me home.
My ever patient husband comes with me. My internal temperature felt like molten lava and my head was pounding. The back of my skull, towards my neck. Throbbing. My legs got like jelly and I felt I could go no further than the 10 steps or so we had already taken.
I sat down on the seat of my walker and hubby pushed me home. Half way there I couldn’t hold in the nausea any longer and we had to stop so I could throw up in a hedge. Unfortunately, I could hear people on the other side of the hedge. They’re in their garden and I felt that I just couldn’t puke in their hedge while I might be heard and/or seen doing so. However, it was going to happen and I threw a couple of gobfulls in their vague direction.
We are now about 20 yards from the church gates (if not closer) and the front door is totally “nearly there yet”. I get out of the walking frame and push it myself, obviously walking in order to do so. The church yard being cobbles then grass… I figured I should think of my man and not make him try to push me any further. I really struggled to put one foot in front of the other but thankfully the door was, by then, just a hop, skip and a jump away. Still, some ten minutes later, we got to the door and I am helped straight to bed.
I peeled off my summer dress and collapsed onto the bed. My head was still pounding, in fact, it was getting worse. The pain in the back of my skull was spreading down my neck, as if there was a specific vein to just carry pain. It was beginning to make my left arm feel a bit weird. Very heavy and sluggish and not particularly happy to do what my brain is asking it to.
It felt like it was withered and was half the size of my right arm.
The pain in my chest had now reached all around my rib cage and this confirmed to me that it was an MS hug as I had suspected. This one was the worst one I had ever had though. My back, my sides and my chest – somewhere under my tits – were all doing their best to hurt enough to make me cry and scare my husband silly.
Once we had gleaned that I was not having a heart attack (chest pain, weird left arm) because I was not having any trouble breathing or speaking, we tried to decide what to do. I basically had no idea as I really couldn’t think straight. The spouse was saying to call 999 but I really didn’t want to, as our nearest emergency department is about an hour away from home. If I were to call 999 I would have to report my symptoms and they would have sent an ambulance and had me in for days no doubt.
I am the driver in this house. Hubby hasn’t passed his test. If he were to come along in an ambulance, he would not be able to get home again, nor come and get me when I was let home.
And I have a festival to go to on Saturday. I bought the tickets in February so there is no way I am missing out on it. Again, I am the driver and I have also bought tickets for my daughter and her boyfriend (who live an hour away in the opposite direction of the emergency department). Today I have to drive and get them from the nearest bus station and then drive all four of us, tomorrow, to the festival and home again at about 0130hrs on Sunday morning.
So, last night I was far from keen to go to hospital. I knew that there would be no neurologist available that night, in fact, it would probably be a couple of three days before I would see anyone from neurology, if not longer. I was adamant that I was not going to hozzy just to lie in a bed for days, only to be told there is nothing they can do. I know this. All MSers know this.
Also, I don’t want to take up a precious NHS bed for something that cannot be resolved. There are other people that need the care more than I. Other people that can be fixed.
From my bed, crying and hurting, I sent my poor husband back to the pub, to finish the quiz. I had a joint rolled and waiting for me, as I tend to do before going out on the lash. I could not even get it together enough to smoke that. Even though I knew that it would ease the cramping of my intercostal muscles in the magical way that only a blast of cannabis can.
I lay there and tried to switch myself off, so I might maybe get some sleep. If I could sleep, maybe I could cease to feel the pain and nausea. I did manage a few bursts of shut-eye, which was nice, but was either woken by the pain or went straight back to feeling it every time I woke.
The “hug” was becoming long standing and possibly worse with every minute. That’s how it felt at the time any way. When hubs gets home (early, God love him) I sit up on the bed, with him and try again to smoke that spliff. Truth be told, I wasn’t happy to smoke on my own in the house, what with the way I was feeling. It didn’t seem safe, or the most sensible thing to do.
The minute he got into bed, he fell asleep and commenced snoring. Usually, in these circumstances, I go out and sleep on the sofa. Or work from the sofa, more accurately. But having woken up at 0300hrs that morning and had no kip at all, I was determined that it not be me that had to move.
With a shove from me, he went out to the sofa and left me to try and sleep in the bed. He has told me this morning that he did not get any sleep but instead did what I tend to do and did some work. I get him to return to the actual bed at about 0600hrs and I got up and went out to the other room to put the coffee on and whatnot.
That takes me to now. My “hug” has gone but my head still hurts and my left arm is still peculiarly fucked up.
I still am unsure of what to do, so I’ll probably do nothing. If I call my MS nurse, she may advise me to go to hospital. And as I have said… I have a festival to go to!
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