March 1995. I began to notice a strange feeling in my left foot, around the toes. They felt pinched, or wet or something.
I was working in an audiovisual company on the East side of town in a largely unheated building. I bundled up a little more, glad that I worked nights in a more comfortable place. The Black Monday crash of the 80's had ruined my career as an editor, so I was working two part time jobs.
May 1995. We were pasteup artists goofing around with the Exacto knives. I forget what made me think of it, but I asked my coworker to stab me in the leg. She very cautiously did so, and shortly announced that she had drawn blood. At the same time, my sight was deteriorating, to the point where I could not discern the difference between a raw, unsharpened photo and its properly processed counterpart.
My general practitioner tested my reactions with a pin. He looked serious and was uncharacteristically quiet. I was sent to the hospital for a neurological exam. During that exam, done with electrodes and all the fixings, the neuro announced that I was being sent to another hospital for an MRI. I knew about MRI's from my work with educational audiovisuals.
Half a day later I was flat on my back in the hospital, having my first Solumedrol Drip. A very relieved neuro told me I did not have Guillein-Barre, but I did have Multiple Sclerosis. Years later I would remember that a college buddy had something that made her walk stiffly and feel constantly tired.
Memorial Day weekend 1995 was spent in the hospital. I insisted on returning to work in five days. The neuro was astounded, but I had to return to my night job, because they were considering me for a full time, benefited position. I needed the money and the benefits.
Fifteen years ago this month, I began my journey with Multiple Sclerosis. This year I am fighting to regain normalcy, but it doesn't look good. It has been over two months since the Solumedrol drip, and I am only partly recovered. Never before have I been on a long term disability.
What a difference fifteen years makes.