Friday of Memorial Day weekend, I started having bizarre issues with my vision, first with vision “scrolling” like a bad cathode ray television set and later with double vision. The problems cleared up with a nap and a little time, but I wrote down the address for the nearest urgent care clinic with my insurance company for future reference in the event that they came up again.
Saturday they did. They also came with a lovely side order of balance problems. I called in sick and with the help of a neighbor (since my vision was so shaky I couldn’t read the screen of my phone) I summoned a Lyft and took it to the urgent care center, only to be dropped off near an industrial property several blocks from my destination. I told the driver it didn’t look quite right; he shrugged. I got out of the car (after having told him that I was having vision and balance problems) and he drove off.
My vision was now so bad I couldn’t even read the nice, big letters I’d written the urgent care center address with. I could kind of make it out, but I don't like venturing on things like that without certainty, so I saw someone walking in my direction on the sidewalk and asked if he could help me.
He walked right past me as if I hadn't said anything.
I asked a few more people with the same result--I was not there to them. In desperation, I even said "I'm not asking for money; I'm just asking for help." No effect. I was invisible and inaudible.
I passed by several closed restaurants and even a boarded-up hotel before I finally found a beauty salon where I explained my dilemma and the nice lady behind the counter pointed me in the right direction and assured me it wasn’t far.
It wasn’t far. The street number (which the nice lady confirmed with me) was out on a big sign that you could see from the street. I lurched my way towards it, my destination in sight.
The sidewalk was closed. While I suppose I could have ignored the signs and picked my way around it, as I saw other people doing, I didn’t trust my own balance around such things. Next to the sidewalk was a large tree that was enclosed in brick walls that served as a kind of planter for it.
So I hoisted my way up the wall, crawled past the tree on my hands and knees, and lowered myself back down on the other side. I made my way to the entrance and into the urgent care center. I explained my problem and the woman at the counter said “Sure, just fill out this form.” I explained that I could not, and they settled for having someone ask me all the questions on the forms and pointed to where to sign in the few places it was necessary. I signed from muscle memory.
They got me in an examination room. The doctor asked me to squeeze her fingers and to walk up and down the room. Then she told me that she was calling an ambulance.
One CT scan, one MRI scan (which was rather like being trapped in an avant-garde multi-media installation, to the point that I laughed out loud until the technician barked at me to hold still) and a few more tests and the answer was that it was NOT a stroke, but probably something to do with my recently updated medication regimen. We adjusted medicines accordingly and that took care of that problem.
This past Sunday gave us the new problem. I went to The Big Green Grocery Store to try and get some breakfast supplies and at least some hours for this week that they’d scheduled me for absolutely nothing. And on the way out, I made a left turn out of the complex onto the main road and I got T-boned by an SUV veering into the middle lane. No idea what happened to the other guy because I was too busy having my car pried open to extract me for delivery to an ambulance. I was X-rayed in various places to be sure nothing was broken (nothing was that they could see) and sent on my way with a brief prescription for pain meds and muscle relaxants and some good wishes. Mom and Dad took me in and have been looking after me ever since. Most of my body is relatively pain-free—it’s just this one area around the left buttock that constantly screams with agony. I’ve just started using a cane but still need parental assistance to get places. (My parents are in their eighties and I'll be forty-nine on Friday. This is supposed to be the other way around, isn't it?) My hope is that things will die down enough that I’ll be able to function with the cane alone. It’s only been a couple of days, so we’ll see how things progress.
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