Glenda Ford

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Upon our arrival I was wheeled into a corridor where there were a number of people lying on beds. A doctor from neurology joined the doctors who proceeded to examine me. They asked me to stand and walk. I told them that I could not without assistance. The female doctor insisted that I could and helped me down off the bed. She held onto both arms and assured me that I would not fall. I did not fall as I was caught on the way down by a couple of other doctors who were watching. It was decided that I should have a CAT scan after they were convinced that I was indeed unable to support myself. I was wheeled into another room where I was left for a brief period of time.

I was becoming anxious, as I knew Malcolm would be somewhere in the hospital looking for me. Someone went out to the waiting room and came back saying he wasn't there. After some time I asked them to please go and look again. This time they came back with him just as they were injecting me with a dye prior to the CAT scan. They did the scan and the doctors asked if I was feeling funny from the dye injection. I was in a completely confused state by this time. I didn't have long to wait for a reaction, as I soon started feeling itchy and hot and my feet began to ache terribly. Before I knew it my arms, face and anything visible started to swell and take on the appearance of a freshly cooked lobster. My feet were aching to such a degree, that I found it impossible to stay still. I was thrashing about the bed uncontrollably. Malcolm kept sponging my forehead trying to cool and calm me down, but I was making it very difficult for them to administer a shot to combat the dye from the CAT scan. I knew I had to try and keep still, and at one stage I caught sight of myself in the shiny steel handrails of the bed and terrified myself at my own reflection. Malcolm kept trying to soothe me and to give encouragement, saying that they would soon know how to treat me. Eventually they were able to get the anti serum into me, but it took another two or more hours for it to work. They could actually then, concentrate on why I was there in the first place.

I had become the most interesting patient in the hospital with small groups of doctors and trainees checking the reflexes on my knees, ankles and elbows with their little hammers. They kept moving my toes up and down and asking me to tell them which way they were bending them. I invariably told them up, when in fact they were pushing down, but as they were shielding my legs from view it was hard for me to cheat. Pins were inserted into various parts of my body, but as I felt nothing, I didn’t know which was the appropriate response. I was asked to grip the doctor’s hand as hard as I could, and to push away, or to pull forward. My strength was deteriorating at an alarming rate.

Time seemed to have grown wings and sometime in the late afternoon I was taken up to "the plastic surgery floor". It was the only floor to have any vacant beds. I had managed to free my body of the allergic reaction and finally I was settled in bed, even if it wasn't in the neurological ward. I was informed that a spinal tap would be performed shortly. It wasn't long before a very nice young man came into the room and I thought maybe he had lost his way in the ward. He looked about 16 years of age. He came straight over to me and told me that he was a doctor. He was going to perform the lumber puncture on me. After all that had happened to me so far that day, I thought it was par for the course. He proceeded to tell me exactly what he was going to do and then lost no time starting. I was to lean over slightly on the side of the bed and he was to administer a local anesthetic. I admit I felt a slight tinge when this went in but before I knew it, the whole procedure was finished. I hadn't felt the lumber puncture at all. He had the steadiest hands I think I have ever encountered. I was very glad he was so young and steady.