MS Is a Lot, But It's Not Always 'It'
Last updated: February 2023
I recently had to make a trip, much to my chagrin, to our local hospital's emergency room. Actually, 2 trips. No wonder MS takes over. Some people give it way too much power. It doesn't deserve it.
An accident while transitioning from the car to my wheelchair
After a road trip with my children, we returned home only for my legs to give out while transitioning from the car to my wheelchair. At any rate, hoping my lower limb pain would subside as the night passed, I didn't go to the ER. However, the pain in one foot afforded me no sleep, no rest. I could bear no weight on my foot, so the ambulance was called. I explained to them exactly what had happened and the situation at hand - noting that I have MS when they asked the customary 'are there any health issues' question - and off we went.
Explaining my situation to the nurse
Upon arrival to the hospital, the ambulance advised the staff why I was there and noted that I have a history of MS. Of course, when the triage nurse asked me, I explained I'd been on a road trip the previous day and my legs, already compromised due to MS, were cramped and weakened, so I fell transitioning to my wheelchair, hurting my left foot badly. There was no relief overnight so I'd come in to have it looked at. Everything was documented and I was left to await the doctor for evaluation.
A doctor came to examine my injury
She came - compassion hovering about her like a moth to a streetlight. She asked what happened. I told her. She looked at my feet, asked if they were always so swollen to which I replied 'yes,' but that the left foot, the injured foot, was extra swollen and I couldn't stand on it post-fall. She covered my feet back up and told me that she understood I had MS which I confirmed. She asked me things like when I was diagnosed, what stage and then told me her cousin was also in a progressive stage.
She blamed the fall on an MS exacerbation!
And then, and I would not make this up, she told me that she had ordered X-rays but also an MRI of the head and neck because she believed it was the MS and that I was having an exacerbation. She wanted to admit me for a round of steroids! Huh?? I told her that I was not having an exacerbation and reiterated why I fell. Not that MS is NOT the culprit to my mobility already being challenged, but this is not an exacerbation. She glared at me with thoughts of "you're in denial" in her eyes and told me we'd "see what happens". This is what happened:
I was discharged with an incorrect diagnosis
With no evidence of an exacerbation, she discharged me with three statements:
- I can't make you stay
- Nothing is broken because it's just bruised
- You'll just have to let it heal
Returning to the ER and seeing a doctor who listened
Only the first statement was correct. With absolutely no complaints nor even mild relief from 'the bruise' after a week, I returned in unbearable pain. A much more thorough and, more importantly, willing to actually listen ER doctor discovered that it was in fact a fracture of my fifth metatarsal bone in my left foot and, as I write this, I am admitted to a physical acute rehabilitation facility.
MS is not always the culprit
My point is this: the fact that one has MS doesn't have to be the main suspect in order to investigate other answers to our complaints. Don't give MS that much power. It can complicate other health issues, it can be a lot... but it doesn't always have to be 'it'.
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