For years, I had been dealing with what I liked to call episodes of pain. I have never had much faith in the healthcare system in America, mostly due to bad experiences and large bills. So, I usually ignored things until I could no longer do so. I would go through an episode with either tingling pains or numbness in random parts of my body without ever seeing a doctor. I always chalked it up to stress most of the time. That all changed when I fainted.
I was dealing with a large amount of stress due to a combination of high expectations as a teacher, a husband who works nights which means he was never around, and taking care of four children after long stressful days at work. I was beginning to have numbness in my feet with strong tingling feelings. As always, I ignored it and kept trudging along with my normal routine. All of this changed when my daughter fell off of the bar stool in the kitchen and bit her lip. I had already dealt with my son getting stitches, so I knew that the cut in her lip was going to need them. Never being one for being squeamish or freak out in emergencies, I was blinded sided when, as I was cleaning up my daughter’s face and planning with my husband to take her to the hospital, my whole world began to spin and fade.
I fainted and my husband had to grab me just in time before I fell on the floor. He managed to get me to a chair. I was only unconscious for a matter of seconds. Then I was fully aware of my surroundings, but I could not open my eyes, move, or speak. This too began to wear off, but it was replaced by sharp tingling and vibrations in my hands. I convinced my husband to take my daughter to the hospital for stitches and to forget about the fact that I had fainted. I might add that I have never previously fainted in my life.
When my husband and daughter got home, my husband confessed that he felt so guilty leaving me after I fainted and demanded that I stay home from work the next day to see a doctor. I did as I was told, even though it was not easy for me to put myself first. As a mother, teacher, and wife, I have gotten so used to putting everyone else before myself. Mothers should always make sure that their children have everything they need.. As a teacher, we put our students needs above our own on most occasions. So, I naturally put my husband before myself since I do it with all over facets of my life.
The pains in my feet were now traveling up my legs and would burn intensely at random times. This was all relayed to the physician. After a chest x-ray, EKG, and blood work, he could only determine that it wasn’t my heart that was the issue. My blood work had a small amount of elevation in my thyroid, so I was referred to another facility for an MRI of my brain for the fainting and an ultrasound of my thyroid. Due to the many problems in our healthcare system, I was told I would have to wait over a week. I was still in a lot of pain and told not to go back to work until they could find answers.
When the pain got worse, I went against my better instincts and went to the local hospital. After more blood work and a CT of my brain, I was told there is nothing wrong with me. I was treated as if I was just there trying to scam them for painkillers. So, I left with no answers, a large bill, and still filled with pain.
After going back to the general practitioner the next day, I was told that I probably just had sciatica and sent on my way. The pain medicine prescribed did not help. I finally got my MRI and ultrasound of my thyroid which both came back negative. According to doctors, there was nothing wrong with me. I went back to work and the pain in my legs started to subside. This just brought about a new form of pain. My hands slowly began to get numb and tingly. My body was constantly exhausted and achy. But according to doctors, I probably just have sciatica and would be fine.
During summer break on vacation in New York, I gave in and went to a chiropractor once the pain in my hands got really bad. I couldn’t function like normal anymore. I couldn’t open doors easily and my hands burned fiercely every time I tried to touch my phone. After several hundred dollars in cash later, I was told that everything I was feeling was due to a spine that was ever so slightly curved in the wrong direction. I begin expensive adjustments twice a week. I would like to add that they wanted me to do three times a week, but I couldn’t afford it. I was already getting financial help from my parents, to begin with. After a month of treatments, I was just getting worse.
I was beginning to think that the chiropractors did not have the answers I was looking for. I stopped treatments and went back to Arkansas. My hands slowly eased up but never went back to normal. I am constantly exhausted and have different forms of aches and pains. Even though I have moved to South Dakota, I still have not gotten up the nerve to seek help again from medical professionals after the bad experiences I have had over the past year. So, I sit in relative silence. Of course, I complain to my husband about it because that’s what we do as wives.
So, until someone can tell me why my body goes through episodes of pain, numbness, and exhaustion, I am left to suffer in silence. Hopefully, my hands will feel like normal at some point in my left and make my love of writing feel more comfortable.